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ABOUT A.D. 1030. 

Bn jEiigltsb BDition, witb IFlotes aiiD 5nMces. 



Professor in the Royal University of Berlin, and Principal of the Seminaiy for 

Oriental Languages ; Member of the Royal Academy of Berlin, and 

Corresponding Member of the Imperial Academy of Vienna 

Honorary Member of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 

and of the American Oriental Society, Cambridge, U.S.A. 

VOL. I. 



The. riyhts of translation and of reproduction are reserved 

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson &^ Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 

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7 ,• n 










The literary history of the East represents the court of Mahmud 
King Mahmud at Ghazna,the leading monarch of Asiatic dansi. 
history between A. D. 997-1030, as having been a centre 
of literature, and of poetry in particular. There were 
four hundred poets chanting in his halls and gardens, 
at their head famous Unsuri, invested with the recently 
created dignity of a poet-laureate, who by his verdict 
opened the way to royal favour for rising talents ; there 
was grand Firdausi, composing his heroic epos by the 
special orders of the king, with many more kindred 
spirits. Unfortunately history knows very little of all 
this, save the fact that Persian poets flocked together 
in Ghazna, trying their kasidas on the king, his minis- 
ters and generals. History paints Mahmud as a suc- 
cessful warrior, but ignores him as a Maecenas. With 
the sole exception of the lucubrations of bombastic 
Utbi, all contemporary records, the Makdmdt of Abii- 
Nasr Mishkani, the Tahakdt of his secretary Baihaki, 
the chronicles of Mulla Muhammad Ghaznavi, Mahmud 
Warrak, and others, have perished, or not yet come to 
light, and the attempts at a literary history dating from 
a time 300-400 years later, the so-called Tadhkiras, 
weigh very light in the scale of matter-of-fact examina- 
tion, failing almost invariably whenever they are applied 
to for information on some detail of ancient Persian 
literature. However this may be, Unsuri, the ^jane- 

vlii PREFACE. 

gyrist, does not seem to have missed the sun of royal 
favour, whilst Firdansi, immortal Firdausi, had to fly 
in disguise to evade the doom of being trampled to 
death by elephants. Attracted by the rising fortune 
of the young emperor, he seems to have repaired to his 
court only a year after his enthronisation, i.e. A.D. 998. 
But when he had finished his Shdhndma, and found 
himself disappointed in his hopes for reward, he flung 
at him his famous satire, and fled into peaceless exile 
(a.d. ioio).^ In the case of the king versus the poet 
the king has lost. As long as Firdausi retains the 
place of honour accorded to him in the history of the 
world's mental achievements, the stigma will cling to 
the name of Mahmud, that he who hoarded up perhaps 
more worldly treasures than were ever hoarded up, did 
not know how to honour a poet destined for immor- 

And how did the author of this work, as remark- 
able among the prose compositions of the East as the 
Shdhndma in poetry, fare with the royal Maecenas of 
Ghazna ? 

Alberuni, or, as his compatriots called him, Abu 
Raihan, was born a.d. 973, in the territory of modern 
Khiva, then called Khwarizm, or Chorasmia in anti- 
quity. ^ Early distinguishing himself in science and 
literature, he played a political part as councillor of 
the ruling prince of his native country of the Ma' muni 
family. The counsels he gave do not seem always to 
have suited the plans of King Mahmud at Ghazna, who 
was looking out for a pretext for interfering in the 
affairs of independent Khiva, although its rulers were 
his own near relatives. This pretext was furnished by 
a military 4meute. 

^ Cf. J. Mohl, Le Livre des Rois, traduit, &c. Publie par Mme. 
Mohl, 1876, preface, pp. xl. seq. 

2 There is a reminiscence of his native country, i. 166, where he 
speaks of a kind of measure used in Khwririzm. 


Mahmiid marched into the country, not without some 
fighting, established there one of his generals as provin- 
cial governor, and soon returned to Ghazna with much 
booty and a great part of the Khiva troops, together 
with the princes of the deposed family of Ma'mun and 
the leading men of the country as prisoners of war or 
as hostages. Among the last was Abu-Raihrm Muham- 
mad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni. 

This happened in the spring and summer of A.D. 
1017. The Chorasmian princes were sent to distant 
fortresses as prisoners of state, the Chorasmian soldiers 
were incorporated in Mahm fid's Indian army ; and Al- 
beruni — what treatment did he experience at Ghazna ? 
From the very outset it is not likely that both the king 
and his chancellor, Ahmad Ibn Hasan Maimandi, should 
have accorded special favours to a man whom they knew 
to have been their political antagonist for years. The 
latter, the same man who had beeu the cause of the 
tragic catastrophe in the life of Firdausi, was in office 
under Mahmiid from A.D. 1 00/- 1 02 5, and a second 
time under his son and successor, Mas'iid, from 1030- 
1033. There is nothing to tell us that Alberuni was 
ever in the service of the state or court in Ghazna. A 
friend of his and companion of his exile, the Christian 
philosopher and physician from Bagdad, Abulkhair 
Alkhammar, seems to have practised in Ghazna his 
medical profession. Alberuni probably enjoyed the 
reputation of a great muncijjim, i.e. astrologer-astrono- 
mer, and perhaps it was in this quality that he had 
relations to the court and its head, as Tycho de Brahe 
to the Emperor Eudolf. When writing the 'IrStKa, 
thirteen years after his involuntary immigration to 
Afghanistan, he was a master of astrology, both ac- 
cording to the Greek and the Hindu system, and indeed 
Eastern writers of later centuries seem to consider him 
as having been the court astrologer of King Mahmiid. 
In a book written five hundred years later (v. Chresto- 


mathie Persane, &g., par Oh. Schefer, Paris, 1883, i. p. 
107 of the Persian text), there is a story of a practical 
joke which Mahmiid played on Alberuni as an astrolo- 
ger. Whether this be historic truth or a late invention, 
anyhow the story does not throw much light on the 
author's situation in a period of his life which is the 
most interesting to us, that one, namely, when he 
commenced to study India, Sanskrit and Sanskrit 

Historic tradition failing us, we are reduced to a 
single source of information — the author's work — and 
must examine to what degree his personal relations are 
indicated by his own words. When he wrote, King 
Muhmud had been dead only a few weeks. Le roi est 
mort — but to whom was Vive le roi to be addressed ? 

Two heirs claimed the throne, Muhammad and 
Mas'ud, and were marching against each other to settle 
their claims by the sword. Under these circumstances 
it comes out as a characteristic fact that the book has 
no dedication whatever, either to the memory of Mah- 
miid, or to one of the rival princes, or to any of the 
indifferent or non-political princes of the royal house. 
As a cautious politician, he awaited the issue of the 
contest ; but when the dice had been thrown, and 
Mas'ud was firmly established on the throne of his 
father, he at once hastened to dedicate to him the 
greatest work of his life, the Cmion Masudicus. If he 
had been affected by any feeling of sincere gratitude, 
he might have erected in the 'IvSlkol a monument to 
the memory of the dead king, under whose rule he had 
made the necessary preparatory studies, and might have 
praised him as the great propagator of Islam, without 
probably incurring any risk. He has not done so, and 
the terms in which he speaks of Malimiid throughout 
his book are not such as a man would use when speak- 
ing of a deceased person who had been his benefactor. 

He is called simply The Amir Mahmiid, ii. 13 (Arabic 


text, p. 208, 9), TJie Amir Malimud, may God's mercy 
he ivith him, i. 116 (text, p. 56, 8), The Amir MaJninid, 
may the grace of God he ivith him, ii. 103 (text, p. 252, 11). 
The title Amir was nothing very complimentary. It 
had been borne by his ancestors when they were simply 
generals and provincial governors in the service of the 
Samani king of Transoxiana and Khurasan. Speaking 
.of Mahmiid and his father Sabuktagin, the author says, 
Yamin-aldaula Mahvmd, may God's mercy he with them, 
i. 22 (text, p. 1 1, 9). He had received the title Yamin- 
cddaula, i.e. The right hand of the dynasty (of the 
Khalif), from the Khalif, as a recognition of the legiti- 
macy of his rule, resembling the investiture of the 
German Emperor by the Pope in the Middle Ages. 
Lastly, we find at ii. 2 (text, p. 203, 20) the following 
terms : " The strongest of the 'pillars (of Islam), the 
pattern of a Sultan, Mcdimud, the lion of the world and 
the rarity of the age, may God's mercy he ivith him." 

Whoever knows the style of Oriental authors when 
speaking of crowned heads, the style of their prefaces, 
which attains the height of absurdity at the court of 
the Moghul emperors at Delhi, will agree with me that 
the manner in which the author mentions the dead 
king is cold, cold in the extreme ; that the words of 
praise bestowed upon him are meagre and stiff, a poor 
sort of praise for a man who had been the first man in 
Islam, and the founder of Islam in India ; lastly, that 
the phrases of benediction which are appended to his 
name, according to a general custom of Islam, are the 
same as the author would have employed when speak- 
ing of any acquaintance of his in common life who had 
died. He says of Mahmiid (i. 22) : " He utterly ruined 
the prosperity of the country (of India), and performed 
those wonderful exploits by which the Hindus became 
like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a 
tale of old in the mouth of the people." To criticise 
these words from a Muslim point of view, the passage of 


the r liming of the prosperity of the country was per- 
fectly out of place in the glorification of a Ghazi like 

That it was not at all against the moral principles of 
Alberuni to write such dedications to princes is shown 
by two other publications of his, with dedications which 
exhibit the customary Byzantinism of the time. In the 
preface of the " Chronology of Ancient Nations " (trans- 
lated, &c., by Edward Sachau, London, 1879), he extols 
with abundant praise the prince of Hyrcania or Jurjan, 
Shams-alma'ali, who was a dwarf by the side of giant 
Mahmud. The studied character of the neglect of 
Mahmud in the 'IvScko. comes out more strongly if we 
compare the unmerited praise which Alberuni lavishes 
upon his son and successor. The preface of his Canon 
Masudicus is a farrago of high-sounding words in 
honour of King Mas'iid, who was a drunkard, and lost 
in less than a decennium most of what his father's 
sword and policy had gained in thirty-three years. 
The tenor of this preface, taken from the manuscript 
of the Royal Library in Berlin, is as follows : — 

To those wholead the community of thebelievers in the 
place of the Prophet and by the help of the Word of God 
belongs "the king, the lord majestic and venerated, the 
helper of the representative of God, the furtherer of the 
law of God, the protector of the slaves of God, who 
punishes the enemies of God, Abu- Said Mas'iid Ibn 
Yamin-aldaula and 'Amin-almilla Mahmud — may God 
give him a long life, and let him ^Derpetually rise to 
glorious and memorable deeds. For a confirmation of 
what we here say of him lies in the fact that God, on 
considering the matter, restored the right {i.e. the right 
of being ruled by Mas ud) to his people, after it had been 
concealed. God brought it to light. After he had been 
in distress, God helped him. After he had been rejected, 
God raised him, and brought him the empire and the 
rule, after people from all sides had tried to get posses- 

PREFACE. xiii 

sion of it, speaking : ' How should he come to rule over 
us, as we have a better right to the rule than he ? ' 
But then they received (from God) an answer in the 
event (lit. sign) which followed. God carried out His 
promise relating to him (Mas'ud), giving him the inheri- 
tance without his asking for it, as He gave the inheri- 
tance of David to Solomon without reserve. (That is, the 
dead King Mahmiid had proclaimed as his successor his 
son Muhammad, not Mas'iicl, but the latter contested the 
will of his father, and in the following contest with his 
brother he was the winner.) If God had not chosen 
him, the hearts of men would not have been gained (?) 
for him, and the intrigues of his enemies would not 
have missed their aim. In short, the souls of men 
hastened to meet him in order to live under his shadow. 
The order of God was an act of predestination, and his 
becoming king was written in the Book of Books in 
heaven (from all eternity). 

"He — may God make his rule everlasting! — has 
conferred upon me a favour which was a high distinc- 
tion to me, and has placed me under the obligation of 
everlasting gratitude. For although a benefactor may 
dispense with the thank-offerings for his deeds, &c., a 
sound heart inspires those who receive them with the 
fear that they might be lost (to general notice), and 
lays upon them the obligation of spreading them and 
making them known in the world. But already, before 
I received this favour, I shared with the inhabitants of 
all his countries the blessings of his rule, of peace and 
justice. However, then the special service (towards 
his Majesty) became incumbent upon me, after (until 
that time) obeying in general (his Majesty) had been 
incumbent on me. (This means, probably, that Mas'ud 
conferred a special benefit (a pension ?) on the author, 
not immediately after he had come to the throne, but 
some time later.) Is it not he who has enabled me for 
the rest of my life (Alberuni was then sixty-one years 


old) to devote myself entirely to the service of science, 
as he let me dwell under the shadow of his power and 
let the cloud of his favour rain on me, always personally 
distinguishing and befriending me, &c. ? And with 
regard to this (the favour conferred upon me), he has 
deigned to send his orders to the treasury and the 
ministry, which certainly is the utmost that kings 
can do for their subjects. May God Almighty reward 
him both in this and in yonder world," &c. 

Thereupon, finding that his Majesty did not require 
his actual service, and besides, finding that science stood 
in the highest favour with him, he composes a book on 
astronomy, to which he had been addicted all his life, 
and adorns it with the name of his Majesty, calling it 
Canon Masudicus {Alkdnun Almasudi), &c. 

To put the phrases of this preface into plain language, 
the author was in favour with King Mas'iid ; he had 
access to the court — living, probably, near it — and 
received an income which enabled him to devote him- 
self entirely to his scientific work. Besides, all this 
appears as a new state of things, the reverse of which 
had been the case under the king's predecessor, his 
father, Mahmiid. We do not know the year in which 
this change in the life of Alberuni was brought about. 
Perhaps it was in some way connected with the fact 
that the chancellor, Maimandi, died A.D. 1033, and that 
after him one Abii-Nasr Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn 
'Abdussamad became chancellor, who before, i.e. from 
1017 to 1033, ^^^^ administered Khwarizm, the native 
country of Alberuni. He and Maimandi had been 
political antagonists — not so he and 'Abdussamad, 

The difference of the author's condition, as it appears 
to have been under Mas'ud, from what it was under 
Mahmiid when he prepared the 'IvSiKa^ is further illus- 
trated by certain passages in the book itself. When 
speaking of the difficulties with which he had to grapple 
in his efforts to learn everything about India, he con- 


tinues : "What scholar, however, has the same favour- 
able opportunities of studying this subject as I have ? 
That would be only the case with one to whom the 
grace of God accords, what it did not accord to me, a 
perfectly free disposal of his own doings and goings ; 
for it has never fallen to my lot in my own doings and 
goings to be perfectly independent, nor to be invested 
with sufficient power to dispose and to order as I 
thought best. However, I thank God for that which 
He has bestowed upon me, and which must be con- 
sidered as sufficient for the purpose " (i. 24). These 
lines seem to say that the author, both at Ghazna and 
in India, at Multan, Peshavar, &c., had the opportunity 
of conversing with pandits, of procuring their help, and 
of buying books ; that, however, in other directions he 
was not his own master, but had to obey a higher will ; 
and lastly, that he was not a man in authority. 

In another place (i. 152) he explains that art and 
science require the protection of kiugs. " For they 
alone could free the minds of scholars from the daily 
anxieties for the necessities of life, and stimulate their 
energies to earn more fame and favour, the yearning for 
which is the pith and marrow of human nature. The 
present times, however, are not of this kind. They are 
the very opposite, and therefore it is quite impossible 
that a new science or any new kind of research should 
arise in our days. What we have of sciences is nothing 
but the scanty remains of bygone better times." Com- 
pare with this a dictum quoted (i. 188) : -'The scholars 
are well aware of the use of money, but the rich are 
ignorant of the nobility of science." 

These are not the words of an author who basks in 
the sunshine of royal protection. The time he speaks 
of is the time of Mahmud, and it is Mahmiid whom he 
accuses of having failed in the duties of a protector of 
art and science imposed upon him by his royal office. 
Firdausi, in his satire (Mohl, i. pref. p. xlv.), calls 

xvi PREFA CE. 

him " un roi qui n'a ni foi ni loi ni manieres " [roycdcs) ; 
and he says: ^^ Si le roi avait M6 un homme digne de 
renom, il nurait honord le savoir,^' &c. It is most 
remarkable to what degree Firdausi and Alberuni agree 
in then- judgment of the king. To neither of them had 
he been a Maecenas. 

In the absence of positive information, we have tried 
to form a chain of combinations from which we may 
infer, with a tolerable degree of certainty, that our 
author, during the thirteen years of his life from 1017 
to 103c, after he had been carried from his native 
country to the centre of Malimiid's realm, did not enjoy 
the favours of the king and his leading men ; that he 
stayed in different parts of India (as a companion of 
the princes of his native country?), probably in the 
character of a hostage or political prisoner kept on 
honourable terms ; that he spent his leisure in the 
study of India ; and that he had no official inducement 
or encouragement for this study, nor any hope of royal 

A radical change in all this takes place with the 
accession of Mas'ud. There is no more complaint of the 
time and its ruler. Alberuni is all glee and exultation 
about the royal favours and support accorded to him 
and to his studies. He now wrote the greatest work of 
his life,^ and with a swelling heart and overflowing 
words he proclaims in the preface the praise of his 
benefactor. Living in Ghazna, he seems to have for- 
gotten India to a great extent. For in the Canon 
Masudicus he rarely refers to India ; its chapter on 
Hindu eras does not prove any progress of his studies 
beyond that which he exhibits in the 'IvSiKa, and at 
the end of it he is even capable of confounding the era 

1 The Canon Masudicus, extant in four good copies in European 
libraries, waits for the patronage of some Academy of Sciences 
or some Government, and for the combination of two scholars, an 
astronomer and an Arabic philologist, for the purpose of an edition 
and translation. 

PREFA CE. xvii 

of the astronomers, as used in the Khmidakhddyaka of 
Brahmagnpta, with the Guptakala. 

If the author and his countrymen had suffered and The authors 
were still suffering from the oppression of King Mali- India. 
mild, the Hindus were in the same position, and per- 
haps it was this community of mishap which inspired 
him with sympathy for them. And certainly the 
Hindus and their world of thought have a paramount, 
fascinating interest for him, and he inquires with the 
greatest predilection into every Indian subject, how- 
soever heathenish it may be, as though he were treating 
of the most important questions for the souls of Muham- 
madans, — of free-will and predestination, of future 
reward and punishment, of the creation or eternity of 
the Word of God, &c. To Mal^rnud the Hindus were 
infidels, to be dispatched to hell as soon as they refused 
to"Be plundered. To go on expeditions and to fill the 
treasury with gold, not to make lasting conquests of 
territories, was the real object of his famous expeditions ; 
and it was with this view that he cut his way through 
enormous distances to the richest temples of India at 
Taneshar, Mathura, Kanoj, and Somanath. 

To Alberuni the Hindus were excellent philosophers, 
good mathematicians and astronomers, though he naively 
believes himself to be superior to them, and disdains to 
be put on a level with them (i. 23).^ He does not 
conceal whatever he considers wrong and unpractical 
with them, but he duly appreciates their mental 
achievements, takes the greatest pains to appropriate 
them to himself, even such as could not be of any use 
to him or to his readers, e.g. Sanskrit metrics; and 
whenever he hits upon something that is noble and 
grand both in science and in practical life, he never 
fails to lay it before his readers with warm-hearted 
words of approbation. Speaking of the construction of 
the ponds at holy bathing-places, he says : "In this 

^ For a similar trait of self-confidence cf. i. 277, last lines. 
VOL. I. h 



xviii PREFACE. 

they have attained a very high degree of art, so that 
our people (the Muslims), when they see them, wonder 
at them, and are unable to describe them, much less to 
construct anything like them" (ii. 144). 

Apparently Alberuni felt a strong inclination towards 
Indian philosophy. He seems to have thought that the 
philosophers both in ancient Greece and India, whom 
he most carefully and repeatedly distinguishes from the 
ignorant, image-loving crowd, held in reality the very 
same ideas, the same as seem to have been his own, i.e. 
those of a pure monotheism ; that, in fact, originally all 
men were alike pure and virtuous, worshipping one sole 
Almighty God, but that the dark passions of the crowd 
in the course of time had given rise to the difference of 
religion, of philosophical and political persuasions, and 
of idolatry. " The first cause of idolatry was the desire 
of commemorating the dead and of consoling the living ; 
but on this basis it has developed, and his finally 
become a foul and pernicious abuse" (i. 124). 

He seems to have revelled in the pure theories of 
the Bhagavadgitd, and it deserves to be noticed that he 
twice mentions the saying of Vyasa, "Learn twenty- 
five [i.e., the elements of existence) by distinctions, &c. 
Afterwards adhere to whatever religion you like ; your 
end will be salvation" (i. 44, and also i. 104). In one 
case he even goes so far as to speak of Hindu scholars 
as " enjoying the help of God,^^ which to a Muslim means 
as much as i^isjnred by God, guided hy divine inspiration 
(ii. 108). These words are an addition of the author's 
in his paraphrase of the Brihatsamhitd of Varahamihira, 
V. 8. There can be scarcely any doubt that Muslims 
of later times would have found fault with him for going 
to such length in his interest for those heathenish 
doctrines, and it is a singular fact that Alberuni wrote 
under a prince who burned and impaled the Karmatians 
{cf. note to i. 3 1 ). 

Still he was a Muslim : whether Sunni or Shi'a 


cannot be gathered from the 'Iv^iku., He sometimes \ 
takes an occasion for pointing out to the reader the ' 
superiority of Islam over Brahmanic India. He con- 
trasts the democratic equality of men with the castes 1 
of India, the matrimonial law of Islam with degraded I 
forms of it in India, the cleanliness and decency of \ 
Muslims with filthy customs of the Hindus. With all 
this, his recognition of Islam is not without a tacit 
reserve. He dares not attack Islam, but he attacks the 
Arabs. In his work on chronology he reproaches the 
ancient Muslims with having destroyed the civilisation 
of Eran, and gives us to understand that the ancient 
Arabs were certainly nothing better than the Zoroastrian 
Eranians. So too in the 'IvStK-a, whenever he speaks of 
a dark side in Hindu life, he at once turns round sharply 
to compare the manners of the ancient Arabs, and to 
declare that they were quite as bad, if not worse. This 
could only be meant as a hint to the Muslim reader not 
to be too haughty towards the poor bewildered Hindu, 
trodden down by the savage hordes of Kiug Mahmiid, 
and not to forget that the founders of Islam, too, were 
certainly no angels. 

Independent in his thoughts about religion and The author. 
philosophy, he is a friend of clear, determined, and manly ^ ^^^^^ "* 
words. He abhors half-truths, veiled words, and waver- 
ing action. Everywhere he comes forward as a champion 
of his conviction with the courage of a man. As in 
religion and philosophy, so too in politics. There are 
some remarkable sentences of political philosophy in 
the introductions to chapters ix. and Ixxi. As a poli- 
tician of a highly conservative stamp, he stands up 
for throne and altar, and declares that "their union 
represents the highest development of human society, 
all that men can possibly desire " (i. 99). He is capable 
of admiring the mildness of the law of the Gospel : " To 
offer to him who has beaten your cheek the other cheek 
also, to bless your enemy and to pray for him. Upon 


my life, this is a noble philosophy ; but the people of 
this world are not all philosophers. Most of them are 
ignorant and erring, who cannot be kept on the straight 
road save by the sword and the whip. And, indeed, 
ever since Constantine the Victorious became a Chris- 
tian, both sword and whip have^ever been employed, for 
without them it would be impossible to rule " (ii. i6i). 
Although a scholar by profession, he is capable of taking 
the practical side of a case, and he applauds the Khalif 
Muaviya for having sold the golden gods of Sicily to 
the princes of Sindh for money's worth, instead of 
destroying them as heathen abominations, as bigoted 
Muslims would probably have liked him to do. His 
preaching the union of throne and altar does not prevent 
him from speaking with undisguised contempt of the 
" preconcerted tricks of the priests " having the purpose 
of enthralling the ignorant crowd (i. 123). 

He is a stern judge both of himself and of others. ^ 
Himself perfectly sincere, it is sincerity which he 
demands from others. Whenever he does not fully 
understand a subject, or only knows part of it, he will 
at once tell the reader so, either asking the reader's 
pardon for his ignorance, or promising, though a man 
of fifty-eight years, to continue his labours and to 
publish their results in time, as though he were acting 
under a moral responsibility to the public. He always 
sharply draws the limits of his knowledge; and although 
he has only a smattering of the metrical system of the 
Hindus, he communicates whatever little he knows, 
guided by the principle that the best must not be the 
enemy of the better (i. 200, 6-9), as though he were 
afraid that he should not live long enough to finish the 
study in question. He is not a friend of those who 
hate to avow their ignorance by a frank / do not 
hioiv" (i. 177), and he is roused to strong indignation 
whenever he meets with want of sincerity. If Bralima- 
gupta teaches two theories of the eclipses, the popular 


one of the dragon Rahu's devouring the luminous body, 
and the scientific one, he certainly committed the sin 
against conscience from undue concessions to the priests 
of the nation, and from fear of a fate like that which 
befell Socrates when he came into collision with the 
persuasions of the majority of his countrymen. Cf. 
chapter lix. In another place he accuses Brahma- 
gupta of injustice and rudeness to his predecessor, 
Aryabhata (i. 376). He finds in the works of Vara- 
hamihira by the side of honest scientific work sentences 
which sound to him " like the ravings of a madman " 
(ii. 1 17), but he is kind enough to suggest that behind 
those passages there is perhaps an esoteric meaning, 
unknown to him, but more to the credit of the author. 
When, however, Varahamihira seems to exceed all 
limits of common sense, Alberuui thinks that '' to such 
things silence is the only 'proper answer" (ii. 1 14). 

His professional zeal, and the principle that learning 
is the fruit of repetitioii (ii. 198), sometimes induce him 
to indulge in repetitions, and his thorough honesty 
sometimes misleads him to use harsh and even rude 
words. He cordially hates the verbosity of Indian 
authors or versifiers,^ who use lots of words where a 
single one would be sufficient. He calls it " mere 
nonsense — a means of keeping people in the dark and 
throwing an air of mystery about the subject. And in 
any case this copiousness (of words denoting the same 
thing) offers painful difficulties to those who want to 
learn the whole language, and only results in a sheer 
waste of time" (i. 229, 299, 19). He twice explains 
the origin of the Dibajat, i.e. Maledives and Laccadives 
(i. 233 ; ii. 106), twice the configuration of the borders 
of the Indian Ocean (i. 197, 270). 

Whenever he suspects humbug, he is not backward in 
calling it by the right name. Thinking of the horrid 
practices of Rasayana, i.e. the art of making gold, of 

^ Cf. his sarcasms on the versifying bias of Hindu authors, i. 137. 

xxii PREFACE. 

making old people young, &c., he bursts out into 
sarcastic words which are more coarse in the original 
than in my translation (i. 189). In eloquent words he 
utters his indignation on the same subject (i. 193): 
" The greediness of the ignorant Hindu ]3rinces for gold- 
making does not know any limit," &c. There is a spark 
of grim humour in his words on i. 237, where he criti- 
cises the cosmographic ravings of a Hindu author : 
" We, on our part, found it already troublesome enough 
to enumerate all the seven seas, together with the seven 
earths, and now this author thinks he can make the 
subject more easy and pleasant to us by inventing some 
more earths below those already enumerated by our- 
selves ! " And when jugglers from Kanoj lectured to 
him on chronology, the stern scholar seems to have been 
moved to something like a grin. " I used great care in 
examining every single one of them, in repeating the 
same questions at different times in a different order 
and context. But lo ! what different answers did I 
get! God is all-wise " (ii. 129). 

In the opening of his book Alberuni gives an account 
of the circumstances which suggested to him the idea 
of writing the 'IvStKa. Once the conversation with a 
friend of his, else unknown, ran on the then existing 
literature on the history of religion and philosophy, 
its merits and demerits. When, in particular, the 
literature on the belief of the Hindus came to be criti- 
cised, Alberuni maintained that all of it was second- 
hand and thoroughly uncritical. To verify the matter, 
his friend once more examines the books in question, 
which results in his agreeing with our author, and his 
asking him to fill up this gap in the Arabic literature 
of the time. The book he has produced is not a polemi- 
cal one. He will not convert the Hindus, nor lend 
a direct help to missionary zealots. He will simply 
describe Hinduism, without identifying himself with it. 
He takes care to inform the reader that he is not respon- 

PREFACE. xxiii 

sible for whatsoever repugnant detail he has to relate, 
but the Hindus themselves. He gives a repertory of 
information on Indian subjects, destined for the use of 
those who lived in peaceable intercourse with them, and 
wished to have an insight into their mode and world of 
thought (i. 7 ; ii. 246). 

The author has nothing in common with the Muham- 
madan Ghazi who wanted to convert the Hindus or to 
kill them, and his book scarcely reminds the reader of 
the incessant war between Islam and India, during 
which it had been prepared, and by which the possi- 
bility of writing such a book had first been given. It 
is like a magic island of quiet, impartial research in 
the midst of a world of clashing swords, burning towns, 
and plundered temples. The object which the author 
had in view, and never for a moment lost sight of, was 
to afford the necessary information and training to 
" any one (in Islam) ivho wants to converse ivitli the 
Hindus, and to discuss with them questions of religion, 
science, or literature, on the very hasis of their own civili- 
sation " (ii. 246). 

It is difficult to say what kind of readers Alberuni had, Tbe author 
or expected to have, not only for the 'Ii'StKa, but for all readers, 
his other publications on Indian subjects. Probably 
educated, and not bigoted or fanatical Muslims in Sindh, 
in parts of the Panjab, where they were living by the side 
of Hindus and in daily intercourse with them ; perhaps, 
also, for such in Kabul, the suburb of which had still a 
Hindu population in the second half of the tenth century, 
Ghazna, and other parts of Afghanistan. When speak- 
ing of the Pidisasiddhclnta, a standard work on astro- 
nomy, he says : '"'A translation of his (Pulisa's) whole 
work into Arabic has not hitherto yet been undertaken, 
because in his mathematical problems there is an evi- 
dent religious and theological tendency " ^ (i. 375). He 

^ Alberuni does not seem to have shared these scruples, for he 
translated it into Arabic (c/. i. 154). 

xxiv PREFA CE. 

does not tell us what this particular tendency was to 
which the readers objected, but we learn so much from 
this note that in his time, and probably also in his 
neighbourhood, there were circles of educated men who 
had an interest in getting the scientific works of India 
translated into Arabic, who at the same time were suffi- 
ciently familiar with the subject-matter to criticise the 
various representations of the same subject, and to give 
the preference to one, to the exclusion of another. That 
our author had a certain public among Hindus seems 
to be indicated by the fact that he composed some 
publications for people in Kashmir ; cf. preface to the 
edition of the text, p. xx. These relations to Kashmir 
are very difficult to understand, as Muslims had not 
yet conquered the country, nor entered it to any extent, 
and as the author himself (i. 206) relates that it was 
closed to intercourse with all strangers save a few Jews. 
Whatever the interest of Muslims for the literature of 
and on India may have been, we are under the impression 
that this kind of literature has never taken deep root ; 
for after Alberuni's death, in A.D. 1048, there is no more 
original work in this field ; and even Alberuni, when he 
wrote, was quite alone in the field. Enumerating the 
difficulties which beset his study of India, he says : " I 
found it very hard to work into the subject, although I 
have a great liking for it, in which 7rspect I stand quite 
alone in my time/^ &c. (i. 24). And certainly we do not 
know of any Indianist like him, before his time or 

In general it is the method of our author not to speak 
himself, but to let the Hindus speak, giving extensive 
quotations from their classical authors. He presents a 
picture of Indian civilisation as painted by the Hindus 
themselves. Many chapters, not all, open with a short 
characteristic introduction of a general nature. The body 
of most chapters consists of three parts. The first is 
a precis of the question, as the author understands it. 


The second part brings forward the doctrmes of the 
Hindus, quotations from Sanskrit books in the chapters 
on religion, philosophy, astronomy, and astrology, and 
other kinds of information which had been communi- 
cated to him by word of mouth, or things which he 
had himself observed in the chapters on literature, 
historic chronology, geography, law, manners, and cus- 
toms. In the third part he does the same as Megas- 
thenes had already done ; he tries to bring the sometimes 
very exotic subject nearer to the understanding of his 
readers by comparing it with the theories of ancient 
Greece, and by other comparisons. As an example of 
this kind of arrangement, cf. Chapter v. In the dis- 
position of every single chapter, as well as in the 
sequence of the chapters, a perspicuous, well-considered 
plan is apparent. There is no patchwork nor anything 
superfluous, and the words fit to the subject as close as 
possible. We seem to recognise the professional mathe- 
matician in the perspicuity and classical order through- 
out the whole composition, and there was scarcely an 
occasion for him to excuse himself, as he does at the 
end of Chapter i. (i. 26), for not being able everywhere 
strictly to adhere to the geometrical method, as he was 
sometimes compelled to introduce an unknown factor, 
because the explanation could only be given in a later 
part of the book. 

He does not blindly accept the traditions of former Theauthor' 
ages ; he wants to understand and to criticise them. He mind, 
wants to sift the wheat from the chaff, and he will 
discard everything that militates against the laws of 
nature and of reason. The reader will remember that 
Alberuni was also a physical scholar, and had joublished 
works on most departments of natural science, optics, 
mechanics, mineralogy, and chemistry ; cf. his geolo- 
gical speculation on the indications of India once having 
been a sea (i. 198), and a characteristic specimen of his 
natural philosophy (i. 400). That he believed in the 

xxvi PREFACE. 

action of the planets on the subhmary world I take for 
certain, though he nowhere says so. It would hardly 
be intelligible why he should have spent so much time 
and labour on the study of Greek and Indian astrology 
if he had not believed in the truth of the thing. He 
gives a sketch of Indian astrology in Chapter Ixxx., 
because Muslim readers "are not acquainted with the 
Hindu methods of astrology, and have never had an 
opportunity of studying an Indian book" (ii. 21 1). 
Bardesanes, a Syrian philosopher and poet in the 
second half of the second Christian century, condemned 
astrology in plain and weighty words. Alberuni did 
not rise to this height, remaining entangled in the 
notions of Greek astrology. 

He did not believe in alchemy, for he distinguishes 
between such of its practices as are of a chemical or 
mineralogical character, and such as are intentional 
deceit, which he condemns in the strongest possible 
terms (i. 187). 

He criticises manuscript tradition like a modern 
philologist. He sometimes supposes the text to be 
corrupt, and inquires into the cause of the corruption ; 
he discusses various readings, and proposes emenda- 
tions. He guesses at lacunce, criticises different transla- 
tions, and complains of the carelessness and ignorance 
of the copyists (ii. y6', i. 162-163). He is aware that 
Indian works, badly translated and carelessly copied by 
the successive copyists, very soon degenerate to such a 
degree that an Indian author would hardly recognise 
his own work, if it were presented to him in such a 
garb. All these complaints are perfectly true, particu- 
larly as regards the proper names. That in his essays 
at emendation he sometimes went astray, that, e.g. he 
was not prepared fully to do justice to Brahmagupta, 
will readily be excused by the fact that at his time it 
was next to impossible to learn Sanskrit with a suffi- 
cient degree of accuracy and completeness. 

PREFACE, xxvii 

When I drew the first sketch of the life of Alberuni 
ten years ago, I cherished the hope that more materials 
for his biography would come to light in the libraries 
of both the East and West. This has not been the 
case, so far as I am aware. To gain an estimate of his 
character we must try to read between the lines of his 
books, and to glean whatever minute indications may 
there be found. A picture of his character cannot 
therefore at the present be anything but very imperfect, 
and a detailed appreciation of his services in the ad- 
vancement of science cannot be undertaken until all 
the numerous works of his pen have been studied and 
rendered accessible to the learned world. The principal 
domain of his work included astronomy, mathematics, 
chronology, mathematical geography, physics, chemistry, 
and mineralogy. By the side of this professional work 
he composed about twenty books on India, both transla- 
tions and original compositions, and a number of tales 
and legends, mostly derived from the ancient lore of 
Eran and India. As probably most valuable contribu- 
tions to the historic literature of the time, we must 
mention his history of his native country Khwarizm, 
and the history of the famous sect of the Karmatians, 
the loss of both of which is much to be deplored. 


The court of the Khalif s of the house of Omayya at on the ori- 

T-w T I 1 1 /• gines of 

Damascus does not seem to have been a home tor Arabic 

„ , . T . . „ -, literature. 

literature. Except lor the practical necessities ot ad- 
ministration, they had no desire for the civilisation of 
Greece, Egypt, or Persia, their thoughts being engrossed 
by war and politics and the amassing of wealth. Pro- 
bably they had a certain predilection for poetry common 
to all Arabs, but they did not think of encouraging 
historiography, much to their own disadvantage. In 
many ways these Arab princes, only recently emerged 

xxviii PREFA CE. 

from the rocky wilderness of the Hijaz, and suddenly- 
raised to imperial power, retained much of the great 
Bedouin Shaikh of the desert. Several of them, shun- 
ning Damascus, preferred to stay in the desert or on 
its border, and we may surmise that in their house- 
holds at Eusafa and Khunasara there was scarcely 
more thought of literature than at present in the halls 
of Ibn Arrashid, the wily head of the Shammar at Hiul. 
The cradle of Arabic literature is not Damascus, but 
Bagdad, and the protection necessary for its rise and 
growth was afforded by the Khalifs of the house of 
Abbas, whose Arab nature has been modified by the 
influence of Eranian civilisation during a long stay in 

The foundation of Arabic literature was laid between 
A.D. 750 and 850. It is only the tradition relating to 
their religion and prophet and poetry that is peculiar 
to the Arabs ; everything else is of foreign descent. 
The development of a large literature, with numerous 
ramifications, is chiefly the work of foreigners, carried 
out with foreign materials, as in Rome the origines of 
the national literature mostly point to Greek sources. 
Greece, Persia, and India were taxed to help the sterility 
of the Arab mind. 

What Greece has contributed by lending its Aristotle, 
Ptolemy, and Harpocrates is known in general. A de- 
tailed description of the influx and spread of Greek 
literature would mark a memorable progress in Oriental 
philology. Such a work may be undertaken with some 
chance of success by one who is familiar with the state 
of Greek literature at the centres of learning during the 
last centuries of Greek heathendom, although he would 
have to struggle against the lamentable fact that most 
Arabic books of this most ancient period are lost, and 
probably lost for ever. 

What did Persia, or rather the Sasanian empire, over- 
run by the Arab hordes, offer to its victors in literature ? 

PREFA CE. xxix 

It left to the east of the Khalifate the language of 
administration, the use of which during the following 
centuries, till recent times, was probably never much 
discontinued. It was this Perso-Sasanian language of 
administration which passed into the use of the smaller 
Eastern dynasties, reared under the Abbaside Khalifs, 
and became the language of literature at the court of 
one of those dynasties, that of the Samani kings of 
Transoxiana and Khurasan. Thus it has come to pass 
that the dialect of one of the most western parts of 
Eran first emerged as the language of literature in its 
farthest east. In a similar way modern German is an 
offsj^ring of the language used in the chanceries of the 
Luxembourg emperors of Germany. 

The bulk of the narrative literature, tales, legends, 
novels, came to the Arabs in translations from the Per- 
sian, the "Thousand and One Nights," the stories told 
by the mouth of animals, like KalUa and Dimna, pro- 
bably all of Buddhistic origin, portions of the national 
lore of Eran, taken from the Klmiddindma, ovl^ordi'^^ook, 
and afterwards immortalised by Firdausi ; but more 
than anything else love-stories. All this was the fashion 
under the Abbaside Khalifs, and is said to have attained 
the height of popularity during the rule of Almuktadir, 
A.D. 908-932. Besides, much favour was apparently 
bestowed upon didactic, par^netic compositions, mostly 
clothed in the garb of a testament of this or that Sasanian 
king or sage, e.g. Anushirvan and his minister Buzurju- 
mihr, likewise upon collections of moralistic apothegms. 
All this was translated from Persian, or pretended to 
be so. Books on the science of war, the knowledge of 
weapons, the veterinary art, falconry, and the various 
methods of divination, and some books on medicine 
and de rehus mnereis, were likewise borrowed from the 
Persians. It is noteworthy that, on the other hand, 
there are very few traces of the exact sciences, such as 
mathematics and astronomy, among the Sasanian Per- 


siaiis. Either they had only little of this kind, or the 
Arabs did not choose to get it translated. 

An author by the name of 'All Ibn Ziyad Altamimi 
is said to have translated from Persian a book, Ztj- 
alshahriydr, which, to judge by the title, mnst have 
been a system of astronomy. It seems to have been 
extant when Alberuni wrote his work on chronology ; 
vide "Chronology of Ancient Nations," translated, &c., 
by Edward Sachau, London, 1876, p. 6, and note p. 368. 
Perhaps it was from this source that the famous Alkh- 
warizmi drew his knowledge of Persian astronomy, 
which he is said to have exhibited in his extract from 
the Brahmasiddhdnta, composed by order of the Khalif 
Ma'miin. For we are expressly told (vide Gildemeister, 
Sco^iptorum Arabum de rchus Indieis loci, &c., p. loi) 
that he used the media, i.e. the mean places of the 
planets as fixed by Brahmagupta, whilst in other 
things he deviated from him, giving the equations of 
the planetary revolutions according to the theory of 
the Persians, and the declination of the sun according 
to Ptolemy. Of what kind this Persian astronomy was 
we do not know, but we must assume that it was of a 
scientific character, based on observation and compu- 
tation, else Alkhwarizmi would not have introduced 
its results into his own work. Of the terminology 
of Arabian astronomy, the word jaAizaliar = (u2i,-^ut 
draconis, is probably of Sasanian origin {gaocithra), as 
well as the word zij ( = canon), i.e. a collection of astro- 
nomical tables with the necessary explanations, perhaps 
also Icardaj, kardaja, a measure in geometry equal to 
g'g- of the circumference of a circle, if it be identical 
with the Persian karda, i.e. cut. 

What India has contributed reached Bagdad by two 
different roads. Part has come directly in translations 
from the Sanskrit, part has travelled through Eran, 
having originally been translated from Sanskrit (Pali ? 
Prakrit ?) into Persian, and farther from Persian into 


Arabic. In this way, the fables of KaWa and 
Dimna have been communicated to the Arabs, and a 
book on medicine, probably the famous CaraJca. Cf. 
Fihrist, p. 303. 

In this communication between India and Bagdad 
we must not only distinguish between two different 
roads, but also between two different periods. 

As Sindh was under the actual rule of the Khalif 
Mansiir (a.d 753-774), there came embassies from that 
part of India to Bagdad, and among them scholars, who 
brought along with them two books, the Brahmasid- 
dlidnta to Brahmagupta (Sindhind), and his Khanda- 
khddyaka (Arkand). With the help of these pandits, 
Alfazari, perhaps also Yakiib Ibn Tclrik, translated them. 
Both works have been largely used, and have exercised 
a great influence. It was on this occasion that the 
Arabs first became acquainted with a scientific system 
of astronomy. They learned from Brahmagupta earlier 
than from Ptolemy. 

Another influx of Hindu learning took place under 
Harun, A.D. 786-808. The ministerial family Barmak, 
then at the zenith of their power, had come with the 
ruling dynasty from Balkh, where an ancestor of theirs 
had been an oflScial in the Buddhistic temple Nanhchdr, 
i.e. nava vihdra =\}iq new temple (or monastery). The 
name Barmak is said to be of Indian descent, meaning 
paramaka, i.e. the superior (abbot of the riJidra ?). Cf. 
Kern, GcschicJde dcs Buddhismus in Indicn, ii. 445, 543. 
Of course, the Barmak family had been converted, but 
their contemporaries never thought much of their pro- 
fession of Islam, nor regarded it as genuine. Induced 
probably by family traditions, they sent scholars to 
India, there to study medicine and pharmacology. Be- 
sides, they engaged Hindu scholars to come to Bagdad, 
made them the chief physicians of their hospitals, and 
ordered them to translate from Sanskrit into Arabic 
books on medicine, pharmacology, toxicology, philo- 

xxxii PREFACE. 

sophy, astrology, and other subjects. Still in later 
centuries Muslim scholars sometimes travelled for 
the same purposes as the emissaries of the Barmak, 
e.g. Almuwaffak not long before Alberuni's time (Codex 
Vindohonensis, sive medici Abu Mansur liber fundamen- 
torum pharmacologicti, ed. Seligmann, Vienna, 1859, pp. 
6, 10, and 15, 9). 

Soon afterwards, when Sindh was no longer politically 
dependent upon Bagdad, all this intercourse ceased en- 
tirely. Arabic literature turned off into other channels. 
There is no more mention of the presence of Hindu 
scholars at Bagdad nor of translations of the Sanskrit. 
Greek learning had already won an omnipotent sway 
over the mind of the Arabs, being communicated to 
them by the labours of Nestorian physicians, the philo- 
sophers of Harran, and Christian scholars in Syria and 
other parts of the Khalifate. Of the more ancient or 
Indo- Arabian stratum of scientific literature nothing has 
reached our time save a number of titles of books, many 
of tliem in such a corrupt form as to baffle all attempts 
at decipherment. 

Among the Hindu physicians of this time one ^j^'^ ^JV 
is mentioned, i.e. the son of DHN, director of the hos- 
pital of the Barmaks in Bagdad. This name may be 
Dlianya or Dlianin, chosen probably on account of its 
etymological relationship with the name Dhanvantari, 
the name of the mythical physician of the gods in 
Manu's law-book and the epos (c/. A. Weber, IndiscJie 
LiUercdurgesckiclite, pp. 284, 287). A similar relation 
seems to exist between the names Kanka, that of a 
physician of the same period, and Kdnkdyana, an 
authority in Indian medicine (cf. Weber, /. c, pp. 287 
note, and 284 note, 302). 

The name ^\ that of an author of a book on 
drinkables, may be identical with Atri, mentioned as a 
medical author by Weber, /. c, p. 288. 

There was a book by one b^X-j (also written ^Ij^:^:} on 

PREFA CE. xxxiii 

wisdom or philosophy (c/. Fihrist, p. 305). According 
to Middle-Indian phonetics this name is = vedavydsa} 
A man of this name, also called Vydsa or BddnrdTjann, 
is, according to the literary tradition of India, the 
originator of the Vedanta school of philosophy {cf. 
Colebroke, Essays, i. 352), and this will remind the 
reader that in the Arabian Sufism the Indian Vedanta 
philosophy reappears. 

Further, an author jV:^^"' Sadbrm,^ is mentioned, 
unfortunately without an indication of the contents of 
his book. Alberuni (i. 157) mentions one Srdya as the 
author of a jdtal-a {cf. Weber, /. c, p. 278), and this 
name is perhaps an abbreviation of that one here 
mentioned, i.e. Satyavarman. 

A work on astrology is attributed to one Lfesj^-^? 
SNGHL {vide Fihrist, p. 271), likewise enumerated 
by Alberuni in a list of names (i. 158). The Indian 
equivalent of this name is not certain {cf. note to i. 1 58). 

There is also mentioned a book on the signs of swords 
by one ..p^ts probably identical with Vydghra, which 
occurs as a name of Indian authors {cf. i. Fihrist, p. 


The famous Buddha legend in Christian garb, most 
commonly called Jonsapli and Barlaam,, bears in Fihrist, 
p. 300, the title ^^: ^ t^g^-lj^. The former word is gene- 
rally explained as BodhisccUva, although there is no 
law in Indian phonetics which admits the change of 
scdtvct to saf. The second name is that of Buddha's 
spiritual teacher and guide, in fact, his 'puroliita, and 
with this word I am inclined to identify the signs in 
question, i.e. Jjb^h. 

What Ibn Wadih in his chronicle (ed. by Houtsma) 
relates of India, on pp. 92-106, is not of much value. 
His words on p. 105, "the king ^^^ =Ghosha, who 

^ Benfey in Kalilag und Damnag, Einleitung, p. xliii. note 3. The 
word has received currency in the form Bidpai. 
- Cf. Benfey, I. c, Einleitung, p. xl. 
VOL. I. c 

xxxiv PREFA CE. 

lived in the time of Sindbad the sage, and this Ghosha 
composed the book on the cunning of the women," are 
perhaps an indication of some fables of Buddhaghosha 
having been translated into Arabic. 

Besides books on astronomy, mathematics (t-^jl**..^^ 
^wV-^!^), astrology, chiefly jdtakas, on medicine and 
pharmacology, the Arabs translated Indian works on 
snakes {sarparidyd'), on poison {visliaridyd), on all 
kinds of auguring, on talismans, on the veterinary art, 
de arte amandi, numerous tales, a life of Buddha, books 
on logic and philosophy in general, on ethics, politics, 
and on the science of war. Many Arab authors took 
up the subjects communicated to them by the Hindus 
and worked them out in original compositions, commen- 
taries, and extracts. A favourite subject of theirs was 
Indian mathematics, the knowledge of which became 
far spread by the publications of Alkindi and many 

The smaller dynasties which in later times tore the 
sovereignty over certain eastern countries of the Khali- 
fate out of the hands of the successors of Mansur and 
Harun, did not continue their literary commerce with 
India, The Banu-Laith (a.d. 872-903), owning great 
part of Afghanistan together with Ghazna, were the 
neighbours of Hindus, but their name is in no way 
connected with the history of literature. For the 
Buyide princes who ruled over Western Persia and 
Babylonia between A.D. 932 and 105 5, the fables of 
Kalila and Dimna were translated. Of all these princely 
houses, no doubt, the Samanides, who held almost the 
whole east of the Khalifate under their sway during 
892-999, had most relations with the Hindus, those in 
Kabul, the Panjab, and Sindh ; and their minister, 
Aljaihani, probably had collected much information 
about India. Originally the slave of the Samanides, 
then their general and provincial governor, Alptagin, 
made himself practically independent in Ghazna a few 


years before Alberuni was born, and his successor, 
Sabiiktagin, Mahmud's father, paved the road for the 
war with India (i. 22), and for the lasting establish- 
ment of Islam in India. 

Some of the books that had been translated under Tiieauthor's 

.study of 

the first Abbaside Khalifs were extant in the library India before 

•^ he wrote 

of Alberuni when he wrote the 'IvSlkol, the Brahma- the present 


siddhdnta or Sindhind, and the Khandakhddyaka or 
Arkand in the editions of Alfazari and of Yakub Ibn 
Tarik, the Caraka in the edition of 'All Ibn Zain, and 
the Fancatantra or Kalila and Dimna. He also used an 
Arabic translation of the Karanasdra by Vittesvara 
(ii. 55), but we do not learn from him whether this was 
an old translation or a modern one made in Alberuni's 
time. These books offered to Alberuni — he complains 
of it repeatedly — the same difficulties as to us, viz., 
besides the faults of the translators, a considerable 
corruption of the text by the negligence of the copyists, 
more particularly as regards the proper names. 

When Alberuni entered India, he probably had a 
good general knowledge of Indian mathematics, astro- 
nomy, and chronology, acquired by the study of Brahma- 
gupta and his Arabian editors. What Hindu author 
was his teacher and that of the Arabs in pure mathe- 
matics (^-^^.^1^ c_jl^Jl)is not known. Besides Alfazari 
and Yakub Ibn Tarik, he learned from Alkhwarizmi, 
something from Abulhasan of Ahwaz, things of little 
value from Alkindi and Abu-Ma shar of Balkh, and 
single details from the famous book of Aljaihani. Of 
other sources which he has used in the 'IrSiK-a, he 
quotes : (i.) A Muhammadan canon called Alharkan, i.e. 
ahargana. I cannot trace the history of the book, but 
suppose that it was a practical handbook of chronology 
for the purpose of converting Arabian and Persian dates 
into Indian ones and vice versa, which had perhaps been 
necessitated by the wants of the administration under 
Sabiiktagin and Mahmud. The name of the author is 

xxxvi PREFACE. 

not mentioned. (2.) Abu Ahmad Ibn Catlaghtagin, 
quoted i. 317 as having computed the latitudes of Karl! 
and Taneshar. 

Two other authorities on astronomical subjects are 
quoted, but not in relation to Indian astronomy, 
Muhammad Ibn Ishfik, from Sarakhs, ii. 15, and a book 
called Ghurrat-cdzijdt, perhaps derived from an Indian 
source, as the name is identical with KaranatUoJm. 
The author is perhaps Abu-Muhammad Alnaib from 
Amul (c/. note to ii. 90). 

In India Alberuni recommenced his study of Indian 
astronomy, this time not from translations, but from 
vSanskrit originals, and we here meet with the remark- 
able fact that the works which about A.D. 770 had been 
the standard in India still held the same high position 
A.D. 1020, viz., the works of Brahmagupta. Assisted 
by learned pandits, he tried to translate them, as also 
the Piolisasiddhdnta {vide preface to the edition of the 
text, § 5), and when he composed the 'Ii^StKa, he had 
already come forward with several books devoted 
to special points of Indian astronomy. As such he 
quotes : — 

(i.) A treatise on the determination of the lunar 
stations or naksJicdras, ii. 83. 

(2.) The Khaydl-rdJius'ilfaini, which contained, pro- 
bably beside other things, a description of the Yoga 
theory, ii. 208. 

(3.) A book called TJie Arabic Khandakhddyaka, on 
the same subject as the preceding one, ii. 208. 

(4.) A book containing a description of the Karanas, 
the title of which is not mentioned, ii. 194. 

(5.) A treatise on the various systems of numeration, 
as used by different nations, i. 174, which probably 
described also the related Indian subjects. 

(6.) A book called " Key of Astronomy," on the ques- 
tion whether the sun rotates round the earth or the 
earth round the sun, i. 277. We may suppose that in 

PREFACE. xxxvii 

this book he had also made use of the notions of Indian 

(7.) Lastly, several publications on the different 
methods for the computation of geographical longitude, 
i. 315. He does not mention their titles, nor whether 
they had any relation to Hindu methods of calculation. 

Perfectly at home in all departments of Indian astro- 
nomy and chronology, he began to write the 'IvSlko.. 
In the chapters on these subjects he continues a literary 
movement which at his time had already gone on for 
centuries ; but he surpassed his predecessors by going 
back upon the original Sanskrit sources, trying to check 
his pandits by whatever Sanskrit he had contrived to 
learn, by making new and more accurate translations, 
and by his conscientious method of testing the data of 
the Indian astronomers by calculation. His work repre- 
sents a scientific renaissance in comparison with the 
aspirations of the scholars working in Bagdad under the 
first Abbaside Khalifs. 

Alberuni seems to think that Indian astrology had 
not been transferred into the more ancient Arabic 
literature, as we may conclude from his introduction to 
Chapter Ixxx. : '•' Our fellow-believers in these (Muslim) 
countries are not acquainted with the Hindu methods 
of astrology, and have never had an opportunity of 
studying an Indian book on the subject," ii. 211. We 
cannot prove that the works of Varahamihira, e.g. his 
Brihatsamhitd and Laghujcitakam, which Alberuni was 
translating, had already been accessible to the Arabs at 
the time of Mansur, but we are inclined to think that 
Alberuni's judgment on this head is too sweeping, for 
books on astrology, and particularly on jdtaka, had 
already been translated in the early days of the Abba- 
side rule. Cf. Fihrist, pp. 270, 271. 

As regards Indian medicine, we can only say that 
Alberuni does not seem to have made a special study 
of it, for he simply uses the then current translation of 

xxxviii PREFACE. 

Caraka, although complaining of its incorrectness, i. 
159, 162, 382. He has translated a Sanskrit treatise 
on loathsome diseases into Arabic (cf. preface to the 
edition of the original, p. xxi. No. 18), but we do not 
know whether before the 'IvSlko. or after it. 

What first induced Alberuni to write the IvBiKa was 
not the wish to enlighten his countrymen on Indian 
astronomy in particular, but to present them with an 
impartial description of the Indian theological and 
philosophical doctrines on a broad basis, with every 
detail pertaining to them. So he himself says both at 
the beginning and end of the book. Perhaps on this 
subject he could give his readers more perfectly new 
information than on any other, for, according to his 
own statement, he had in this only one predecessor, 
Aleranshahri. Not knowing him or that authority 
which he follows, i.e. Zurkan, we cannot form an 
estimate as to how far Alberuni's strictures on|them 
(i. 7) are founded. Though there can hardly be any 
doubt that Indian philosophy in one or other of its 
principal forms had been communicated to the Arabs 
already in the first period, it seems to have been some- 
thing entirely new when Alberuni produced before his 
compatriots or fellow-believers the Sdmkliya by Kapila, 
and the Booh of Patahjali in good Arabic translations. 
It was this particular work which admirably qualified 
him to write the corresponding chapters of the 'Ii/8tKa. 
The philosophy of India seems to have fascinated his 
mind, and the noble ideas of the Bhagavadgitd pro- 
bably came near to the standard of his own persua- 
sions. Perhaps it was he who first introduced this 
gem of Sanskrit literature into the world of Muslim 

As regards the Puranas, Alberuni was perhaps the 
first Muslim who took up the study of them. At all 
events, we cannot trace any acquaintance with them on 
the part of the Arabs before his time. Of the litera- 

PREFACE. xxxix 

tare of fables, he knew the Pamcatantra in the Arabic 
edition of Ibn Almukaffa. 

Judging Alberuni in relation to his predecessors, we 
come to the conclusion that his work formed a most 
marked progress. His description of Hindu philosophy 
was probably unparalleled. His system of chronology 
and astronomy was more complete and accurate than 
had ever before been given. His communications from 
the Puranas were probably entirely new to his readers, 
as also the important chapters on literature, manners, 
festivals, actual geography, and the much-quoted chap- 
ter on historic chronology. He once quotes Razi, with 
whose works he was intimately acquainted, and some 
Sufi philosophers, but from neither of them could he 
learn much about India. 

In the following pages we give a list of the Sanskrit msSanskiit 
books quoted in the 'IvSiKct : — 

Sources of the chapters on theology and philosophy : 
SdrhkhTja, by Kapila ; Book of Fatahjali ; Gild, i.e. some 
edition of the Bhagavadgitd. 

He seems to have used more sources of a similar 
nature, but he does not quote from them. 

Sources of a Pauranic kind : Vislinu-Dliarma, Vislinu- 
Furdna, Matsya-Purdn a, Vdyio-ruTdna,Aditya-Furd ija. 

Sources of the chapters on astronomy, chronology, 
geography, and astrology : Fulisasiddhdnta ; Brahma- 
siddhdnta, Khandakliddydka, JJUarakliandakliddyaka, 
by Brahmagupta ; Commentary of the Kliandaklidd- 
yaka, by Balabhadra, perhaps also some other work of 
his ; Brihatsamliitd, Fancasiddhd7iHkd, Brihat-jdtakam, 
Laghu-jdtakam, by Varahamihira ; Commentary of the 
Brihatsamliitd, a book called Snldhaca (perhaps Sarva- 
dhara), by Utpala, from Kashmir ; a book by Aryabhata, 
junior; Karanasdra, by Vittesvara ; Karanatilakay by 
Vijayanandin ; Sripdla ; Book of the Fishi (sic) BJmvaiia- 
kosa ; BookoftheBrdhman Bhattila ; Book of Durlalha^ 


from Multan ; Book of Jivasarman ; Book of Sammy a ; 
Book of Auliatta (?), the son of Sahawi (?) ; The Minor 
Mdnasa, by Puncala ; Si^ijbclhava [Sarvadhara ?), by 
Mahadeva Candrabija ; Calendar from Kashmir. 

As regards some of these authors, Sripala, Jivasar- 
man, Samaya (?), and Auliatta (?), the nature of the 
quotations leaves it uncertain whether Alberuni quoted 
from books of theirs or from oral communications which 
he had received from them. 

Source on medicine : Caraka^ in the Arabic edition of 
'All Ibn Zain, from Tabaristan. 

In the chapter on metrics, a lexicographic work by 
one Haribhata (?), and regarding elephants a " Book 
on the Medicine of Elephants," are quoted. 

His communications from the Mahdbhdrata and 
Rdyndyana, and the way in which he speaks of them, 
do not give us the impression that he had these books 
before him. He had some information of Jaina origin, 
but does not mention his source (Aryabhata, jun. ?) 
Once he quotes Manu's Dharmasdstra, but in a manner 
which makes me doubt whether he took the words 
directly from the book itself.^ 

The quotations which he has made from these sources 
are, some of them, very extensive, e.g. those from the 
Bhagavadgitd. In the chapter on literature he men- 
tions many more books than those here enumerated, 
but does not tell us whether he made use of them for 
the 'IvSlku. Sometimes he mentions Hindu individuals 
as his informants, e.g. those from Somanath, i. i6i, 165, 
and from Kanoj, i. 165 ; ii. 129. 

In Chapter i. the author speaks at large of the radical 
difference between Muslims and Hindus in everything, 
and tries to account for it both by the history of India 
and by the peculiarities of the national character of its 
inhabitants (i. 17 seq.). Everything in India is just 

^ The places where mention of these books occurs are given in 
Index I. Cf. also the annotations on single cases. 


the reverse of what it is in Islam, " and if ever a custom 
of theirs resembles one of ours, it has certainly just the 
opposite meaning " (i. 179). Much more certainly than 
to Alberuni, India would seem a land of wonders and 
monstrosities to most of his readers. Therefore, in 
order to show that there were other nations who held 
and hold similar notions, he compares Greek philosophy, 
chiefly that of Plato, and tries to illustrate Hindu 
notions by those of the Greeks, and thereby to bring 
them nearer to the understanding of his readers. 

The role which Greek literature plays in Alberuni' s Greek and 
work in the distant country of the Paktyes and Gandhari leis. 
is a singular fact in the history of civilisation. Plato 
before the doors of India, perhaps in India itself ! A 
considerable portion of the then extant Greek literature 
had found its way into the library of Alberuni, who 
uses it in the most conscientious and appreciative way, 
and takes from it choice passages to confront Greek 
thought with Indian. And more than this : on the 
part of his readers he seems to presuppose not only that 
they were acquainted with them, but also gave them 
the credit of first-rate authorities. Not knowing Greek 
or Syriac, he read them in Arabic translations, some of 
which reflect much credit upon their authors. The 
books he quotes are these : — 

Plato, Phcedo. 

Timcsus, an edition with a commentary. 

Leges. In the copy of it there was an appendix relating 

to the pedigree of Hippokrates. 
Proclus, Commentary on Timccus (different from the extant 

Aristotle, only short references to his Physica and Metaphysica. 

Letter to Alexander. 
Johannes Grammaticus, Contra Proclum. 
Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentary on Aristotle's (pvaiKT] 


Apollonius of Tyana. 

Porphyry, Liber historiarum philosophorum {?). 


xlii PREFACE. 

Aratus, Phcenomena, witli a commentary. 
Galenus, Protrepticus. 

irepl avvdeaeajs (f>ap/xdKcoy twv Kara tottovs. 

irepl avvdeaecos (papfxaKUv Kara yhrj. 

Commentary on the Apophthegms of Hippokrates. 

De indole aniiiue. 

Book of the Proof. 
Ptolemy, Almagest. 


Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Alexander romance. 
Scholia to the Ars grammatica of Dionysius Thrax. 
A synchronistic history, resembling in part that of Johannes 
Malalas, in part the Chronicon of Eusebius. Cf. notes to i. 
112, 105. 

The other analogies which he draws, not taken from 
Greek, but from Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish, Mani- 
ch^an, and Sufi sources, are not very numerous. He 
refers only rarely to Eranian traditions ; cf. Index II. 
(Persian traditions and Zoroastrian). Most of the 
notes on Christian, Jewish, and Manichaean subjects 
may have been taken from the book of Eranshahri [cf. 
his own words, i. 6, 7), although he knew Christianity 
from personal experience, and probably also from the 
communications of his learned friends Abulkhair Al- 
khammfir and Abu-Sahl Almasihi, both Christians from 
the farther west {cf. Chronologic Orient alisclicr Volker, 
Einleitung, p. xxxii.). The interest he has in Mani's 
doctrines and books seems rather strange. We are not 
acquainted with the history of the remnants of Mani- 
chseism in those days and countries, but cannot help 
thinking that the quotations from Mani's " Book of 
Mysteries" and Thesaurus Vivificationis do not justify 
Alberuni's judgment in this direction. He seems to 
have seen in them venerable documents of a high 
antiquity, instead of the syncretistic ravings of a would- 
be prophet. 

That he was perfectly right in comparing the Sufi 
philosophy — he derives the word from a-o^la, i. 33 — 

PREFACE. xliii 

with certain doctrines of the Hindus is apparent to 
any one who is aware of the essential identity of the 
systems of the Greek Neo-Pythagoreans, the Hindu 
Vedanta philosophers, and the Sufis of the Muslim 
world. The authors whom he quotes, Abu Yazid 
Albistami and Abu Bakr Alshibli, are well-know^n 
representatives of Sufism. Of. note to i. 87, 88. 

As far as the present state of research allows one to 
judge, the work of Alberuni has not been continued. 
In astronomy he seems by his Canon Masudicus to 
represent the height, and at the same time the end, of 
the independent development of this science among the 
Arabs. But numerous scholars toiled on in his wake, 
whilst in the study of India, and for the translation of 
the standard works of Sanskrit literature, he never had 
a successor before the days of the Emperor Akbar. 
There followed some authors who copied from his 
'IvSlkol, but there was none who could carry on the 
work in his spirit and method after he had died, 
eighteen years after the composition of the TrSiKa. 
We must here mention two authors who lived not long 
after him, under the same dynasty, and probably in the 
same place, Ghazna, viz., Gardezi (cf. note to ii. 6), who 
wrote between A.D. 1049 ^^^ 1052, and Muhammad 
Ibn 'Ukail, who wrote between A.D. 1089 and 1099 
{cf. note to i. 5). Of the later authors who studied 
Alberuni's 'L'^tKaand copied from it, the most notorious 
is Rashid-aldin, who transferred, e.j. the whole geogra- 
phical Chapter xviii. into his huge chronicle. 

When Alberuni entered India, times were not favour- lucUa at tin 


able for opening friendly relations with native scholars, time. 
India recoiled from the touch of the impure barbarians. 
The Pala dynasty, once ruling over Kabulistan and the 
Panjab, had disappeared from the theatre of history, and 
their former dominions were in the firm grasp of King 
Mahmiid and under the administration of his slaves, 
of Turkish descent. The princes of North-Western 

xliv PREFACE. 

India had been too uarrow-miuded, too blind in their 
self-conceit, duly to appreciate the danger threatening 
from Ghazna, and too little politic in due time to unite 
for a common defence and repulse of the enemy. 
Single-handed Anandapala had had to fight it out, and 
had succumbed : but the others were to follow, each one 
in his turn. All those who would not bear the yoke 
of the mlecchas fled and took up their abode in the 
neighbouring Hindu empires. 

Kashmir was still independent, and was hermetically 
sealed to all strangers (i. 206). Anandapala had fled 
there. Mahmud had tried the conquest of the coun- 
try, but failed. About the time when Alberuni wrote, 
the rule passed from the hands of Sangi*amadeva, 
A.D. 1 007- 1 050. into those of Auantadeva. A.D. 1030- 

Central and Lower Siudh were rarely meddled with 
by Mahmud. The country seems to have been split 
into minor priucipalities, ruled by petty Muslim 
dynasties, like the Karmatian dynasty of Multan, 
deposed by Mahmud. 

In the conditions of the Gurjara empire, the capital of 
which was Anhilvara or Pattan, the famous expedition 
of Mahmud to Somanath, A.D. 102 5, in some ways re- 
sembling that of Xapoleon to Moscow, does not seem 
to have produced any lasting changes. The country 
was under the sway of the Solanki dynasty, who in 
A.D. 980 had taken the place of the Calukyas. King 
Camunda fled before Mahmud. who raised another 
prince of the same house, Devasarman, to the throne ; 
but soon after we find a son of Camunda, Durlabha, as 
king of Gurjara till A.D. 1037. 

Malava was ruled by the Pramara dynasty, who, 
like the kings of Kashmir, had afforded a refuge to a 
fugitive prince of the Pala dynasty of Kabulistan. 
Bhojadeva of Malava. ruling between A.D. 997 and 
1053. is mentioned by Alberuni. His court at Dhar, 

PREFA CE. xlv 

where he had gone from Ujjain, was a rendezvous of 
the scholars of the time. 

Kanoj formed at that time part of the realm of the 
Pala princes of Ganda or Bengal, who resided in 
Mongir. During the reign of Rajyapala, Kanoj had 
been plundered and destroyed by Mahmiid, A.D. 1017, 
in consequence of which a new city farther away from 
the mlecchas, Bari, had been founded, but does not 
seem to have grown to any importance. Residing in 
this place, the King Mahipala tried about A.D. 1026 to 
consolidate and to extend his empire. Both these rulers 
are said to have been Buddhists. Cf. Kern, Geschichte 
des Buddhismus in Indien, ii. 544. 

The centres of Indian learning were Benares and 
Kashmir, both inaccessible to a barbarian like Alberuni 
(i. 22), but in the parts of India under Muslim adminis- 
tration he seems to have foand the pandits he wanted, 
perhaps also at Ghazna among the prisoners of war. 

India, as far as known to Alberuni, was Brahmanic, The author 
not Buddhistic. In the first half of the eleventh cen- dhism. 
tury all traces of Buddhism in Central Asia, Khurasan, 
Afghanistan, and North-Western India seem to have 
disappeared ; and it is a remarkable fact that a man of 
the inquisitive mind of Alberuni knew scarcely any- 
thing at all about Buddhism, nor had any means for 
procuring information on the subject. His notes on 
Buddhism are very scanty, all derived from the book 
of Eranshahri, who, in his turn, had copied the book of 
one Zurkan, and this book he seems to indicate to have 
been a bad one. Cy. i. 7, 249, 326. 

Buddha is said to be the author of a book called 
Cuddmoni (not Gv.dhdmaiw , as I have written, i. 158), 
i.e. Jewel, on the knowledge of the supraDaturalistic 

The Buddhists or Shamanians, i.e. sramaiw. are called 
Muliammira, which I translate the red-robe iccarers, 
taking it for identical with raMapata. Cf. note to i. 21. 

xlvi PREFACE. 

Mentioning the trinity of the Buddhistic system, 
huddha, dharma, sangha, he calls Buddha Buddhodana, 
which is a mistake for something like the son of Suddho- 
dana. Cf. note to i. 40 and i. 380, which latter passage 
is probably derived from the Vishnu- Dharma (on which 
vide note to i. 54)- 

Of Buddhistic authors there are mentioned Oandra, 
the grammarian, i. 135 {cf. Kern, Geschichte des Bud- 
dhismus in Indien, ii. 520), Sugriva, the author of an 
astronomical work, and a pupil of his, i. 156. 

Of the manners and customs of the Buddhists, only 
their practice of disposing of their dead by throwing 
them into flowing water is mentioned, ii. 169. 

Alberuni speaks (ii. 1 1) of a building erected by King 
Kanishka in Peshavar, and called Kanishlcacaitya, as 
existing in his time, most likely identical with that 
stilpa which he is reported to have built in consequence 
of a prophecy of no less a person than Buddha himself. 
Of. Kern, /. c., ii. 1 87. The word hihdr, i.e. vihdra, which 
Alberuni sometimes uses in the meaning of temple and 
the like, is of Buddhistic origin. Cf. Kern, I. c, ii. 57. 

Among the various kinds of writing used in India, he 
enumerates as the last one the " BhaikshuJd, used in 
Udtcnjmr in Furvadem. This last is the writing of 
Buddha,^' i. 173. Was this Udunpiir (we may also read 
Udannapur) the Buddhistic monastery in Magadha, 
JJdandapicri, that was destroyed by the Muslims, A.D. 
1200? Cf. Kern, I. c, ii. 545. 

The kosmographic views of the Buddhists, as given 
by Alberuni, i. 249, 326, ought to be examined as to 
their origin. Perhaps it will be possible to point out 
the particular Buddhistic book whence they were taken. 

He speaks twice of an antagonism between Buddha 
and Zoroaster. 

If Alberuni had had the same opportunity for travel- 
ling in India as Hiouen-Tsang had, he would easily 
have collected plenty of information on Buddhism. 

PREFACE. xlvii 

Considering the meagreness of his notes on this subject, 
we readily believe that he never found a Buddhistic 
book, and never knew a Buddhist "from whom I might 
have learned their theories," i. 249. His Brahman pan- 
dits probably knew enough of Buddhism, but did not 
choose to tell him. 

Lastly, India, as known to Alberuni, was in matters 
of religion Vishnuitic (vaishnavcf) , not Sivaitic (scdva). 
Vishnu, or Narayana, is the first god in the pantheon of 
his Hindu informants and literary authorities, whilst 
Siva is only incidentally mentioned, and that not always 
in a favourable manner. This indicates a remarkable 
change in the religious history of those countries. For 
the predecessors of Mahmud in the rule over Kabulistan 
and the Panjab, the Pala dynasty, were worshippers of 
Siva (cf. Lassen, Indische Altertlmtmshitnde, 3, 895), as 
we may judge from their coins, adorned with the image 
of Nanda, the ox of Siva, and from the etymology of 
their names. Cf. note to ii. 13, and Lassen, I. c, 3, 915. 
The image of Nanda reappears a second time on the 
coins of the last of the descendants of King Mahmud on 
the throne of Ghazna. 


It was in the summ^er of 1883 that I began to work at 
the edition and translation of the TvStKa, after having 
fulfilled the literary duties resulting from my journey 
in Syria and Mesopotamia in 1879 and 1880. A copy 
of the Arabic manuscript had been prepared in 1872, 
and collated in Stambul in the hot summer months of 


In order to test my comprehension of the book, I 
translated it into German from beginning to end between 
February 1883 and February 1884. I^ the summer of 
the latter year the last hand was laid to the constitu- 
tion of the Arabic text as it was to be printed. 

xlviii PREFACE. 

In 1885-86 the edition of the Arabic original was 
printed. At the same time I translated the whole book 
a second time, into English, finishing the translation of 
every single sheet as the original was carried through 
the press. 

In 1887 and the first half of 1888 the English trans- 
lation, with annotations and indices, was printed. 

My work during all these years was not uninter- 

Translating an Arabic book, written in the style of 
Alberuni, into English, is, for a person to whom English 
is not his mother-tongue, an act of temerity, which, 
when I was called upon to commit it, gravely affected 
my conscience to such a degree that I began to falter, 
and seriously thought of giving up the whole thing alto- 
gether. But then there rose up before " my mind's 
eye " the venerable figure of old MacGuckin de Slane, 
and as he had been gathered to his fathers, I could not 
get back the word I had given him. Of. preface to the 
edition of the Arabic text, p. viii. Assuredly, to do 
justice to the words of Alberuni would require a com- 
mand over English like that of Sir Theodore Martin, 
the translator of " Faust," or Chenery, the translator of 

As. regards my own translation, I can only say I have 
tried to find common sense in the author's language, 
and to render it as clearly as I could. In this I was 
greatly assisted by my friend the Eev. Eobert Gwynne, 
Vicar of St. Mary's, Soho, London, whose training in 
Eastern languages and literature qualified him to co- 
operate in revising the entire manuscript and correcting 
the proof sheets. 

Perhaps it will not be superfluous to point out to the 
reader who does not know Arabic that this language 
sometimes exhibits sentences perfectly clear as to the 
meaning of every single word and the syntactic construc- 
tion, and nevertheless admitting of entirely different 

PREFACE. xlix 

interpretations. Besides, a first translator who steers 
out on such a sea, like him who first tries to explain a 
difficult, hardly legible inscription, exposes himself to 
many dangers which he would easily have avoided had 
kind fortune permitted him to follow in the wake of 
other explorers. Under these circumstances, I do not 
flatter myself that I have caught the sense of the author 
everywhere, and I warn the reader not to take a trans- 
lation, in particular a first translation, from Arabic 
for more than it is. It is nothing absolute, but only 
relative in many respects ; and if an Indianist does not 
find good Indian thought in my translation, I would 
advise him to consult the next Arabic philologist he 
meets. If the two can obtain a better insight into the 
subject-matter, they are very likely to produce a better 
rendering of the words. 

My annotations do not pretend to be a running com- 
mentary on the book, for that cannot be written except 
by a professed Indianist. They contain some informa- 
tion as to the sources used by Alberuni, and as to those 
materials which guided me in translating. On the 
phonetic peculiarities of the Indian words as transcribed 
by Alberuni, the reader may compare a treatise of mine 
called Indo-Arahische Studien, and presented to the 
Royal Academy of Berlin on 2 1 st June of this year. 

My friend Dr. Robert Schram, of the University of 
Vienna, has examined all the mathematical details of 
chronology and astronomy. The results of his studies 
are presented to the reader in the annotations signed 
with his name. All this is Dr. Schram's special domain, 
in which he has no equal. My thanks are due to him 
for lending me his help in parts of the work where my 
own attempts at verification, after prolonged exertions 
in the same direction, proved to be insufficient. 

Of the two indices, the former contains all words of 
Indian origin occurring in the book, some pure Sanskrit, 
some vernacular, others in the form exhibited by the 

VOL. I. d 


Arabic manuscript, howsoever faulty it may be. The 
reader will perhaps here and there derive some advan- 
tage from comparing the index of the edition of the 
Arabic original. The second index contains names of 
persons and places, &c., mostly of non-Indian origin. 

It was the Committee of the Oriental Translation 
Fund, consisting at the time of Osmond de Beau voir 
Priaulx, Edward Thomas, James FergDsson, Reinhold 
Rost, and Theodore Goldsttlcker, who first proposed to 
me to translate the 'Ii'StKa. Thomas, Goldstucker, and 
Fergusson are beyond the reach of human words, but 
to 0. de Beauvoir Priaulx, Esq., and to Dr. Rost, I desire 
to express my sincerest gratitude for the generous help 
and the untiring interest which they have always ac- 
corded to me, though so many years have rolled on since 
I first pledged to them my word. Lastly, Her Majesty's 
India Office has extended its patronage from the edition 
of the Arabic original also to this edition of the work in 
an English garb. 

Of the works of my predecessors, the famous publica- 
tion of Reinaud, the Memoive geographiqiie, historique et 
scientifique sur VInde, Paris, 1849, has been most useful 
to me. Of. on this and the labours of my other pre- 
decessors § 2 of the preface to the edition of the Arabic 

The Sanskrit alphabet has been transliterated in the 
following way : — a, d, i, i, u, u — ri, ai, au — k, kh, g, gh, 
ii — c, c]i,j,jh, n — t, th, d, dh, n — t, th, d, dh, n — p, ph, 
b, hh, m — y, r, I, v — 6', sh, s, h. 


Berlin, Avgust 4, 1888. 


{For Alberuni's Synopsis of the Single Chapters of the Bool-, 
vide pp. 9-16.) 


I. 3. Author's Preface. 

9. Synopsis op the Eighty Chapters. 
17. Chapter I., Author's Special Introduction. 
27. Chapters II.-XI., on Religion, Philosophy, and 
Related Subjects. 

125. Chapters XII.-XVII., on Literature, Metrology, 
Usages, and Related Subjects. 

196. Chapters XVIII.-XXXI., on Geography, Cosmo- 
graphy, AND Astronomy. 

319 TO Vol. II. p. 129. Chapters XXXII. -LXII., on Chro- 
nology, Astronomy, and Related Subjects. 
II. 130. Chapters LXIII.-LXXIX., on Manners and Cus- 
toms, Festivals, and Related Subjects, 

211. Chapter LXXX., on Astrology. 

247. Annotations of the Translator. 
403-431. Indices. 










VOL. I. 



In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Page2. 

No one will deny that in questions of historic authen- i. on tra 
ticity hearsay does not equal eye-ioitness ; for in the latter ^ay an'd^eye- 
the eye of the observer apprehends the substance of that ^a^iifedif 
which is observed, both in the time when and in the oTrrporteS 
place where it exists, whilst hearsay has its peculiar of^trutS 
drawbacks. But for these, it would even be preferable 
to eye-witness ; for the object of eye-witness can only be 
actual momentary existence, whilst hearsay comprehends 
alike the present, the past, and the future, so as to apply 
in a certain sense both to that which is and to that 
which is not (i.e. which either has ceased to exist or 
has not yet come into existence). Written tradition 
is one of the species of hearsay — we might almost say, 
the most preferable. How could we know the history 
of nations but for the everlasting monuments of the 

The tradition regarding an event which in itself does 
not contradict either logical or physical laws will invari- 
ably depend for its character as true or false upon the 
character of the reporters, who are influenced by the 
divergency of interests and all kinds of animosities 
and antipathies between the various nations. We must 
distinguish different classes of reporters. 

One of them tells a lie, as intending to further an 


interest of his own, either hy lauding his family or 
nation, because he is one of them, or hy attacking 
the family or nation on the opposite side, thinking that 
thereby he can gain his ends. In both cases he acts 
from motives of objectionable cupidity and animosity. 

Another one tells a lie regarding a class of j^eople 
whom he likes, as being under obligations to them, or 
whom he hates because something disagreeable has 
happened between them. Such a reporter is near akin 
to the first-mentioned one, as he too acts from motives 
of personal predilection and enmity. 

Another tells a lie because he is of such a base 
nature as to aim thereby at some profit, or because he 
is such a coward as to be afraid of telling the truth. 

Another tells a lie because it is his nature to lie, and 
he cannot do otherwise, which proceeds from the essen- 
tial meanness of his character and the depravity of his 
innermost being. 

Lastly, a man may tell a lie from ignorance, blindly 
following others who told him. 

If, now, reporters of this kind become so numerous 
as to represent a certain body of tradition, or if in the 
course of time they even come to form a consecutive 
series of communities or nations, both the first rej^orter 
and his followers form the connecting links between 
the hearer and the inventor of the lie ; and if the 
connecting links are eliminated, there remains the 
originator of the story, one of the various kinds of liars 
we have enumerated, as the only person with whom we 
have to deal. 

That man only is praiseworthy who shrinks from a 
lie and always adheres to the truth, enjoying credit 
even among liars, not to mention others. 

It has been said in the Koran, " Speak the truth, even if 

it luci'e against yourselves" (Sura, 4, 1 34) ; and the Messiah 

Page 3- expresses himself in the Gospel to this effect : " Bo not 

mind the fury of kings in speaking the truth before them. 


They only possess your body, hut they have no j^ower over 
your soul" {ef. St. Matt. x. i8, 19, 28; St. Lnke xii. 4). 
In these words the Messiah orders us to exercise moral 
courage. For what the crowd calls courage — bravely 
dashing into the fight or plunging into an abyss of de- 
struction — is only a species of courage, whilst the genus, 
far above all species, is to scorn death, whether by word 
or deed. 

Now as justice (i.e. being just) is a quality liked and 
coveted for its own self, for its intrinsic beauty, the 
same applies to truthfulness.^ except perhaps in the case 
of such people as never tasted how sweet it is, or know 
the truth, but deliberately shun it, like a notorious liar 
who once was asked if he had ever spoken the truth, 
and gave the answer, "If I were not afraid to speak 
the truth, I should say, no." A liar will avoid the path 
of justice ; he will, as matter of preference, side with op- 
pression and false witness, breach of confidence, fraudu- 
lent appropriation of the wealth of others, theft, and all 
the vices which serve to ruin the world and mankind. 

When I once called upon the master 'Abu-Sahl i. onthe 

dGIGCts of 

'Abd-Almun'im Ibn'Ali Ibn Nuh At-tiflisi, may God Muslim 

works on 

strengthen him ! I found that he blamed the tendency of religious 

i-ire-i • ^^'l philoSO- 

the author 01 a book on theMu tazila sect to misrepresent pMcai doc- 
their theory. For, according to them, God is omniscient 11. Exem- 
of himself, and this dogma that author had expressed in regard to the 
such a way as to say that God has no knoiuledge (like criticism of 
the knowledge of man), thereby misleading ud educated Eranshahri. 
people to imagine that, according to the Mutazilites, asked to 
God is ignorant. Praise be to God, who is far above all on the sub- 
such and similar unworthy descriptions ! Thereupon I ""^iv. He 
pointed out to the master that precisely the same method 
is much in fashion among those who undertake the task 
of giving an account of religious and philosophical 
systems from which they slightly differ or to which they 
are entirely opposed. Such misrepresentation is easily 
detected in a report about dogmas comprehended within 

states his 


the frame of one single religion, because they are closely- 
related and blended with each other. On the other hand , 
you would have great difficulty in detecting it in a 
report about entirely foreign systems of thought totally 
differing both in principle and details, for such a research 
is rather an out-of-the-way one, and there are few means 
of arriving at a thorough comprehension of it. The 
same tendency prevails throughout our whole literature 
on philosophical and religious sects. If such an author 
is not alive to the requirements of a strictly scientific 
method, he will procure some superficial information 
which will satisfy neither the adherents of the doctrine 
in question nor those who really know it. In such a 
case, if he be an honest character, he will simply 
retract and feel ashamed ; but if he be so base as not 
to give due honour to truth, he will persist in litigious 
wrangling for his own original standing-point. If, on 
the contrary, an author has the right method, he will do 
his utmost to deduce the tenets of a sect from their 
legendary lore, things which peo^^le tell him, pleasant 
enough to listen to, but which he would never dream of 
taking for true or believing. 

In order to illustrate the point of our conversation, 
Page 4. one of those present referred to the religions and doc- 
trines of the Hindus by way of an example. There- 
upon I drew their attention to the fact that everything 
which exists on this subject in our literature is second- 
hand information which one has copied from the other, 
a farrago of materials never sifted by the sieve of 
critical examination. Of all authors of this class, I know 
only one who had proposed to himself to give a simple 
and exact report of the subject sine ird ac studio, viz. 
' Abu-arabbas Aleranshahri. He himself did not believe 
in any of the then existing religions, but was the sole 
believer in a religion invented by himself, v.hich he 
tried to propagate. He has given a very good account 
of the doctrines of the Jews and Christians as well as 


of the contents of both the Thora and the Gospel. 
Besides, he furnishes us with a most excellent account 
of the Manichseans, and of obsolete religions of bygone 
times which are mentioned in their books. But when 
he came in his book to speak of the Hindus and the 
Buddhists, his arrow missed the mark, and in the latter 
part he went astray through hitting upon the book of 
Zarkdn, the contents of which he incorporated in his 
own work. That, however, which he has not taken 
from ZarJidii, he himself has heard from common people 
among Hindus and Buddhists. 

At a subsequent period the master 'Abu-Sahl studied 
the books in question a second time, and when he found 
the matter exactly as I have here described it, he incited 
me to write down what I know about the Hindus as a 
help to those who want to discuss religious questions 
with them, and as a repertory of information to those 
who want to associate with them. In order to please 
him I have done so, and written this book on the 
doctrines of the Hindus, never making any unfounded 
imputations against those, our religious antagonists, and 
at the same time not considering it inconsistent with 
my duties as a Muslim to quote their own words at full 
length when I thought they would contribute to eluci- 
date a subject. If the contents of these quotations 
happen to be utterly heathenish, and the folloiuers of the 
truth, i.e. the Muslims, find them objectionable, we can 
only say that such is the belief of the Hindus, and that 
they themselves are best qualified to defend it. 

This book is not a loolemical one. I shall not produce 
the arguments of our antagonists in order to refute such 
of them as I believe to be in the wrong. My book is 
nothing but a simple historic record of facts. I shall 
place before the reader the theories of the Hindus 
exactly as they are, and I shall mention in connection 
with them similar theories of the Greeks in order to 
show tfffe relationship existing between them. For the 


Greek philosophers, although aiming at truth in the 
abstract, never in all questions of popular bearing rise 
much above the customary exoteric expressions and 
tenets both of their religion and law. Besides Greek 
ideas we shall only now and then mention those of the 
Sufis or of some one or other Christian sect, because in 
their notions regarding the transmigration of souls and 
the pantheistic doctrine of the unity of God with crea- 
tion there is much in common between these systems. 
I have already translated two books into Arabic, one 
about the origines and a description of all created 
beings, called SchhJchya, and another about the emanci- 
pation of the soul from the fetters of the body, called 
Patahjali (Fdtaiijala /). These two books contain most 
of the elements of the belief of the Hindus, but not 
all the single rules derived therefrom. I hope that the 
present book will enable the reader to dispense with 
these two earlier ones, and with other books of the same 
kind ; that it will give a sufficient representation of the 
subject, and will enable him to make himself thoroughly 
acquainted with it — God willing ! 










































CHAPTER XX. Page 6. 






































































TIME. o»> 






















'^ LIFE. 







































( 17 ) 



Before enteriDg on our exposition, we must form an Descrip- 
adequate idea of that which renders it so particularly dif- baniers ^^ 
ficult to penetrate to the essential nature of any Indian Jxrate the 
subject. The knowledge of these difficulties will either frimthe 
facilitate the progress of our work, or serve as an apology and u™ke 
for any shortcomings of ours. For the reader must cuiaily d^if. 
always bear in mind that the Hindus, entirely di,ffer Musihu'to 
from us in every respect, many a subject appearing i,*,'iffn^"^ 
intricate and obscure which would , be paifectly.oiear"^"^^^*^^^' 
if there were more connection between us. The barriers . 
which separate Muslims and Hindus rest on different j 

First, they differ from us in everything which other First rea- 
nations have in common. And here we first mention fereiiceof 
the language, although the difference of language also guageand 
exists between other nations. If you want to conquer cuiai" ^ 
this difficulty {i.e. to learn Sanskrit), you will not find 
it easy, because the language is of an enormous range, 
both in words and inflections, something like the 
Arabic, calling one and the same thing by various 
names, both original and derived, and using one and 
the same word for a variety of subjects, which, in order 
to be properly understood, must be distinguished from 
each other by various qualifying ej)ithets. For nobody 
could distinguish between the various meanings of a 
word unless he understands the context in which it 



occurs, and its relation both to the following and the 
preceding parts of the sentence. The Hindus, like 
other people, boast of this enormous range of their lan- 
guage, whilst in reality it is a defect. 

Further, the language is divided into a neglected 
vernacular one, only in use among the common people, 
and a classical one, only in use among the upper and 
educated classes, which is much cultivated, and subject 
to the rules of grammatical inflection and etymology, 
and to all the niceties of grammar and rhetoric. 

Besides, some of the sounds (consonants) of which 
the language is composed are neither identical with the 
sounds of Arabic and Persian, nor resemble them in 
any way. Our tongue and uvula could scarcely manage 
to correctly pronounce them, nor our ears in hearing to 
distinguish them from similar sounds, nor could we 
transliterate them with our characters. It is very 
difEciilfc, therefore, ro express an Indian word in our 
writing, for in order to fix the pronunciation we must 
charxge ou;- orthographical points and signs, and must 
pronounce the case- endings either according to the 
common Arabic rules or according to special rules 
adapted for the purpose. 

Add to this that the Indian scribes are careless, and 
do not take pains to produce correct and well-collated 
I copies. In consequence, the highest results of the 
author's mental development are lost by their negli- 
gence, and his book becomes already in the first or 
second copy so full of faults, that the text appears as 
something entirely new, which neither a scholar nor 
one familiar with the subject, whether Hindu or Muslim, 
could any longer understand. It will sufficiently illus- 
trate the matter if we tell the reader that we have 
sometimes written down a word from the mouth of 
Hindus, taking the greatest paius to fix its pronuncia- 
tion, and that afterwards when we repeated it to them, 
they had great difficulty in recognising it. 


As in other foreign tongues, so also in Sanskrit, two 
or three consonants may follow each other without an 
intervening vowel — consonants which in our Persian 
grauimatical system are considered as haviug a hidden 
vowel. Since most Sanskrit words and names begin 
with such consonants without vowels, we find it very 
difficult to pronounce them. 

Besides, the scientific books of the Hindus are com- 
posed in various favourite metres, by which they intend, 
considering that the books soon become corrupted by 
additions and omissions, to preserve them exactly as Page 10. 
they are, in order to facilitate their being learned by 
heart, because they consider as canonical only that 
which is known by heart, not that which exists in 
writing. Now it is well known that in all metrical 
compositions there is much misty and constrained 
phraseology merely intended to fill up the metre and 
serving as a kind of patchwork, and this necessitates 
a certain amount of verbosity. This is also one of 
the reasons why a word has sometimes one meaning 
and sometimes another. 

From all this it will appear that the metrical form 
of literary composition is one of the causes which 
make the study of Sanskrit literature so particularly ^ , 

Secondly, they totally differ from us in religion, as second rea- 
we believe in nothing in which they believe, and vice leilgioir" 
versa. On the whole, there is very little disputing p''^^"^"^®^- 
about theological topics among themselves ; at the 
utmost, they fight with words, but they will never stake 
their soul or body or their property on religious contro- 
versy. On the contrary, all their fanaticism is directed 
against those who do not belong to them — against all 
foreigners. They call them mleccha, i.e. impure, and 
forbid having^ any connection with them, be it by 
intermarriage or any other kind of relationship, or 
by sitting, eating, and drinking with them, because 



thereby, they think, they would be polluted. They 
consider as impure anything which touches the fire 
and the water of a foreigner ; and no household can 
exist without these two elements. Besides, they never 
desire that a thing which once has been polluted should 
be purified and thus recovered, as, under ordinary cir- 
cumstances, if anybod}^ or anything has become unclean, 
he or it would strive to regain the state of purity. 
They are not allowed to receive anybody who does not 
belong to them, even if he wished it, or was inclined to 
their religion. This, too, renders any connection with 
them quite impossible, and constitutes the widest gulf 
between us and them. 

In the third place, in all manners and usages they 
differ from us to such a degree as to frighten their 
children with us, with our dress, and our ways and 
customs, and as to declare us to be devil's breed, and 
our doings as the very opposite of all that is good and 
proper. By the by, we must confess, in order to be 
just, that a similar depreciation of foreigners not only 
prevails among us and the Hindus, but is common to 
all nations towards each other, j I recollect a Hindu 
who wreaked his vengeance on us for the following 
reason : — 

' Some Hindu king had perished at the hand of an 
enemy of his who had marched against him from our 
country. After his death there was born a child to 
him, which succeeded him, by the name of Sagara. 
On coming of age, the young man asked his mother 
about his father, and then she told him what had hai> 
pened. Now he was inflamed with hatred, marched 
out of his country into the country of the enemy, and 
plentifully satiated his thirst of vengeance upon them. 
After having become tired of slaughtering, he compelled 
the survivors to dress in our dress, which was meant as 
an ignominious punishment for them. When I heard 
of it, I felt thankful that he was gracious enough not 

sicni of the 
towards the 
countries of 


to compel us to Indianise ourselves and to adopt Hindu 
dress and manners. : 

~~~~- Another circumstance which increased the already Foyyth 
existing antagonism between Hindus and foreigners is 
that the so-called Shamaniyya (Buddhists), though they 
cordially hate the Brahmans, still are nearer akin to the wesT, 

-r r. • XT'! A A T-* * whciicethey 

them than to others. In former times, Khurasan, rersis, had been 
'Irak, Mosul, the country up to the frontier of Syria, Fh-st inroads 
was Buddhistic, but then Zarathustra went forth from ims uit<r 
Adharbaijan and preached Magism in Balkh (Baktra). 
His doctrine came into favour with King Gushtasp, 
and his son Isfendiyad spread the new faith both in 
east and west, both by force and by treaties. He 
founded fire-temples through his whole empire, from 
the frontiers of China to those of the Greek empire. Page u. 
The succeeding kings made their religion (i.e. Zoroas- 
trianism) the obligatory state-religion for Persis and 
'Irak. In cousequence, the Buddhists were banished 
from those countries, and had to emigrate to the coun- 
tries east of Balkh. There are some Magiaus up to the 
present time in India, where they are called Maga. 
From that time dates their aversion towards the coun- 
tries of Khurasan. But then came Islam ; the Persian 
empire perished, and the repugnance of the Hindus 
against foreigners increased more and more when the 
Muslims began to make their inroads into their country ; 
for Muhammad Ibn Elkasim Ibn Elmunabbih entered 
Sindh from the side of Si3istan(Sakastene) and conquered 
the cities of Bahmanwa and Miilasthana, the former of 
which he called Al-manmra, the latter Al-viccmwrt. 
He entered India proper, and penetrated even as far as 
Kanauj, marched through the country of Gandhara, and 
on his way back, through the confines of Kashmir, some- 
times fighting sword in hand, sometimes gaining his ends 
by treaties, leaving to the people their ancient belief, 
except in the case of those who wanted to become Mus- 
lims. All these events planted a deeply rooted hatred 
in their hearts. 


Muham- Now iu the followmg times no Muslim conqueror 


niadau con- 
quest of the passed beyond the frontier of Kabul and the river Sindh 

country by . "^ 

until the days of the Turks, when they seized the power 
in Ghazna under the Samani dynasty, and the supreme 
power fell to the lot of Nasir-addaula Sabuktagin. 
This prince chose the holy war as his calling, and there- 
fore called himseU Al-ghdzi (i.e. luarring on the road of 
Allah). In the interest of his successors he constructed, 
in order to weaken the Indian frontier, those roads 
on which afterwards his son Yamin-addaula Mahmud 
marched into India during a period of thirty years and 
more. God be merciful to both father and son ! Mah- 
mud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and 
performed there wonderful exploits, by which theHindus 
became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, 
and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their 
scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate 
aversion towards all Muslims. This is the reason, too, 
why Hindu sciences have retired far away from those 
parts of the country couquered by^is, and have fled to 
places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kashmir, 
Benares, and other places. And there the antagonism 
between them and all foreigners receives more and 
more nourishment both from political and religious 

In the fifth place, there are other causes, the mention- 
ing of which sounds like a satire — peculiarities of their 
national character, deeply rooted in them, but manifest 
\Ti*^'f iJhu" "^^ to everybody. We can only say, folly is an illness for 
foreign." wMch there is no medicine, and the Hindus believe that 
there is no country but theirs, no nation like theirs, no 
kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like 
theirs. They are haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited, 
and stolid. They are by nature niggardly in communi- 
cating that which they know, and they take the greatest 
possible care to withhold it from men of another caste 
among their own people, still much more, of course, 

Fifth rea- 
son : Tlie 
of the Hin- 
dus, and 
their de- 


from any foreigner. According to their belief, there is 
no other country on earth but theirs, no other race of 
man but theirs, and no created beings besides them have 
any knowledge or science whatsoever. Their haughti- 
ness is such that, if you tell them of any science or 
scholar in Khurasan and Persis, they will think you to 
be both an ignoramus and a liar. If they travelled and 
mixed with other nations, they would soon change their 
mind, for their ancestors were not as narrow-minded 
as the present generation is. One of their scholars, 
Varahamihira, in a passage where he calls on the people 
to honour the Brahmans, says : " The Greeks, though 
impure, must he honoured, since they icere trained in 
sciences, cmd therein excelled others. What, then, are 
ive to say of a Brahman, if he comhines with his Page 
purity the height of science V In former times, the 
Hindus used to acknowledge that the progress of science 
due to the Greeks is much more important than that 
which is due to themselves. But from this passage of 
Varfihamihira alone you see what a self-lauding man 
he is, whilst he gives himself airs as doing justice to 
others. At first I stood to their astronomers in the 
relation of a pupil to his master, being a stranger 
among them and not acquainted with their peculiar 
national and traditional methods of science. On having 
made some progress, I began to show them the elements 
on which this science rests, to point out to them some 
rules of logical deduction and the scientific methods of 
all mathematics, and then they flocked together round 
me from all parts, wondering, and most eager to learn 
from me, asking me at the same time from what Hindu 
master I had learnt those things, whilst in reality I 
showed them what they were worth, and thought myself 
a great deal superior to them, disdaining to be put on a 
level with them. They almost thought me to be a 
sorcerer, and when speaking of me to their leading men 
in their native tongue, they spoke of me as the sea or as 


the loatcr ivhich is so acid that vinegar in comparison is 
Personal Now sucli is the State of thinefs in India. I have 

relations of p , . it. -, . 

the author. louncl it Very hard to work my way into the subject, 
although I have a great liking for it, in which respect I 
stand quite alone in my time, and although I do not 
spare either trouble or money in collecting Sanskrit 
books from places where I supposed they were likely 
to be found, and in procuring for myself, even from very 
remote places, Hindu scholars who understand them 
and are able to teach me. What scholar, however, has 
the same favourable opportunities of studying this sub- 
ject as I have ? That would be only the case with one 
to whom the grace of God accords, what it did not 
accord to me, a perfectly free disposal of his own doings 
and goings ; for it has never fallen to my lot in my own 
doings and goings to be perfectly independent, nor to 
be invested with sufficient power to dispose and to order 
as I thought best. However, 1 thank God for that 
which He has bestowed upon me, and which must be 
considered as sufficient for the purpose. 
The author The heathen Greeks, before the rise of Christianity, 
intention of held uiuch the same opinions as the Hindus ; their 
Selk^'"^^' educated classes thought much the same as those of 
becaus^e'of the Hiiidus ; their common people held the same 
nearakTn^ idolatrous views as those of the Hindus. There- 
strictiy*''*^" fore I like to confront the theories of the one nation 
cii al-acter as '^ith those of the Other simply on account of their 
wTthThoseof close relationship, not in order to correct them. For 
the Hindus, ^j^^^ y^\^ic\i is not the tvuth [i.e. the true belief or 
monotheism) does not admit of any correction, and all 
heathenism, whether Greek or Indian, is in its pith and 
marrow one and the same belief, because it is onXj a 
deviation from the triith. The Greeks, however, had 
philosophers who, living in their country, discovered 
and worked out for them the elements of science, not of 
popular superstition, for it is the object of the upper 


classes to be guided by the results of science, whilst the 
common crowd will always be inclined to plunge into 
wrong-headed wrangling, as long as they are not kept 
down by fear of punishment. Think of Socrates when 
he opposed the crowd of his nation as to their idolatry 
and did not want to call the stars gods ! At once eleven 
of the twelve judges of the Athenians agreed on a sen- 
tence of death, and Socrates died faithful to the truth. 

The Hindus had no men of this stamp both capable 
and willing to bring sciences to a classical perfection. 
Therefore you mostly find that even the so-called 
scientific theorems of the Hindus are in a state of utter 
confusion, devoid of any logical order, and in the last in- 
stance always mixed up with the silly notions of the crowd, 
e.g. immense numbers, enormous spaces of time, and 
all kinds of religious dogmas, which the vulgar belief 
does not admit of being called into question. Therefore 
it is a prevailing practice among the Hindus jurare in 
verba magistri ; and I can only compare their mathema- 
tical and astronomical literature, as far as I know it, to 
a mixture of pearl shells and sour dates, or of pearls Page 13. 
and dung, or of costly crystals and common pebbles. 
Both kinds of things are equal in their eyes, since they 
cannot raise themselves to the methods of a strictly 
scientific deduction. 

In most parts of my work I simply relate without The author's 

.... ^ , , "^ , . , f. 1 • method. 

criticising, unless there be a special reason lor doing so. 
I mention the necessary Sanskrit names and technical 
terms once where the context of our explanation de- 
mands it. If the word is an original one, the meaning 
of which can be rendered in Arabic, I only use the 
corresponding Arabic word ; if, however, the Sanskrit 
word be more practical, we keep this, trying to trans-' 
literate it as accurately as possible. If the word is a 
secondary or derived one, but in general use, we also 
keep it, though there be a corresponding term in Arabic, 
but before using it we explain its signification. In 


this way we have tried to facilitate the understanding 
of the terminology. 

Lastly, we observe that we cannot always in our 
discussions strictly adhere to the geometrical method, 
only referring to that which precedes and never to that 
which follows, as we must sometimes introduce in a 
chapter an unknown factor, the explanation of which 
can only be given in a later part of the book, God 
helping us ! 

( 27 ) 


The belief of educated and uneducated people differs in Tiie nature 

PIP • • 1 of God. 

every nation ; tor the lormer strive to conceive abstract 
ideas and to define general principles, whilst the latter 
do not pass beyond the apprehension of the senses, and 
are content with derived rules, without caring for de- 
tails, especially in questions of religion and law, regard- 
ing whicii opinions and interests are divided. 

The Bindus believe with regard to God that he is 
one, eternal, without beginning and end, acting by free- 
will, almighty, all-wise, living, giving life, ruling, pre- 
serving ; one who in his sovereignty is unique, beyond 
all likeness and unlikeness, and that he does not re- 
semble anything nor does anything resemble him. In 
order to illustrate this we shall produce some extracts 
from their literature, lest the reader should think that 
our account is nothing but hearsay. 

In the book of Patanjali the pupil asks : Quotation 

" Who is the worshipped one, by the worship of whom Patanjaii. 
blessing is obtained ? " 

The master says : 

"It is he who, being eternal and unique, does not for 
his part stand in need of any human action for which 
he might give as a recompense either a blissful repose, 
which is hoped and longed for, or a troubled existence, 
which is feared and dreaded. He is unattainable to 
thought, being sublime beyond all unlikeness which is 
abhorrent and all likeness which is sympathetic. He 


by his essence knows from all eternity. Knowledge^ in 
the human sense of the term, has as its object that 
which was unknown before, whilst not knoioing does 
not at any time or in any condition apply to God." 

Further the pupil speaks : 

"Do you attribute to him other qualities besides 
those you have mentioned ? " 

The master says : 

" He is height, absolute in the idea, not in space, for 
he is sublime beyond all existence in any space. He 
is the pure absolute good, longed for by every created 
being. He is the knowledge free from the defilement 
of forgetfulness and not-knowing." 

The pupil speaks : 

" Do you attribute to him speech or not ? " 

The master says : 

"As he knows, he no doubt also speaks." 

The pupil asks : ' 

" If he sjjcccks because he knoins, what, then, is the 
difference between him and the knowing sages who 
have siJoken of their knowing ? " 

The master says : 
p.ige 14. u rpj^g difference between them is time, for they have 

learned in time and spoken in time, after having been 
not-knowing and not-speaking. By speech they have 
transferred their knowledge to others. Therefore their 
speaking and acquiring knowledge take place in time. 
And as divine matters have no connection with time, 
God is knowing, speaking from eternity. It was he 
who spoke to Brahman, and to others of the first beings 
in different ways. On the one he bestowed a "book ; 
for the other he opened a door, a means of communi- 
cating with him ; a third one he inspired so that he 
obtained by cogitation what God bestowed upon him." 
! The pupil asks : 

" Whence has he this knowing? " 

The master answers : 


" His knowing is the same from all eternity, for ever 
and ever. As he has never been not-knowint^, lie is 
knowing of himself, having never acquired any know- 
ledge which he did not 230ssess before. He speaks in 
the Veda which he sent down upon Brahman : 

" 'Praise and celehrate him who has spoken the Veda, 
and teas hefore the Veda! " 

The pupil asks : 

*'How do you worship him to whom the perception 
of the senses cannot attain ? " 

The master says : 

" His name proves his existence, for where there is a 
report there must be something to which it refers, and 
where there is a name there must be something which 
is named. He is hidden to the senses and unperceiv- 
able by them. However, the soul perceives him, and 
thought comprehends his qualities. This meditation 
is identical with worshipping him exclusively, and by 
practising it uninterruptedly beatitude is obtained." 

In this way the Hindus express themselves in this 
very famous book. 

The following passage is taken from the book Gitd, Quotation 
a part of the book Bharata, from the conversation be- book oita. 
tween Vasudeva and Arjuna : — 

"I am the universe, without a beginning by being 
born, or without an end by dying. I do not aim by 
whatever I do at any recompense. I do not specially 
belong to one class of beings to the exclusion of others, 
as if I were the friend of one and the enemy of others. 
I have given to each one in my creation what is suffi- 
cient for him in all his functions. Therefore whoever 
knows me in this capacity, and tries to become similar 
to me by keeping desire apart from his action, his 
fetters will be loosened, and he will easily be saved and 

This passage reminds one of the definition of philo- 


On the 
notions of 
the action 
and the 

fium the 

Page 15. 

sophy as the striving to become as much as j^ossihle simi- 
lar to God. 

Further, Vasudeva speaks in the same book : — 

" It is desire which causes most men to take refuge 
with God for their wants. But if you examine their 
case closely, you will find that they are very far from 
having an accurate knowledge of him ; for God is not 
apparent to every one, so that he might perceive him 
with his senses. Therefore they do not know him. 
Some of them do not pass beyond what their senses 
perceive ; some pass beyond this, but stop at the know- 
ledge of the laws of nature, without learning that above 
them there is one who did not give birth nor was born, 
the essence of whose being has not been comprehended 
by the knowledge of any one, while his knowledge 
comprehends everything. " 

The Hindus differ among themselves as to the defini- 
tion of what is action. Some who make God the source 
of action consider him as the universal cause ; for as the 
existence of the agents derives from him, he is the 
cause of their action, and in consequence it is his 
own action coming into existence through their inter- 
mediation. Others do not derive action from God, but 
from other sources, considering them as the 'particular 
causes which in the last instance — according to external 
observation — produce the action in question. 

In the book SdmJchya the devotee speaks : " Has there 
been a difference of opinion about action and the agent, 
or not?" 

The sage speaks : " Some people say that the soul is 
not alive and the matter not living ; that God, who is 
self-sufficing, is he who unites them and separates them 
from each other ; that therefore in reality he himself is 
the agent. Action proceeds from him in such a way 
that he causes both the soul and the matter to move, 
like as that which is living and powerful moves that 
which is dead and weak. 


" Others say that the union of action and the agent is 
effected by nature, and that such is the usual process 
in everything that increases and decreases. 

" Others say the agent is the soul, because in the 
Veda it is said, ' Every being comes from Purusha.' 
According to others, the agent is time, for the world is 
tied to time as a sheep is tied to a strong cord, so that 
its motion depends upon whether the cord is drawn 
tight or slackened. Still others say that action is 
nothing but a recompense for something which has 
been done before. 

'' All these opinions are wrong. The truth is, that 
action entirely belongs to matter, for matter binds the 
soul, causes it to wander about in different shapes, 
and then sets it free. Therefore matter is the agent, 
all that belongs to matter helps it to accomplish 
action. But the soul is not an agent, because it is 
devoid of the different faculties." 

This is what educated people believe about God. piaiosophi- 
They call him Uvara, i.e. self-sufficing, beneficent, who gar'notions 
gives without receiving. They consider the unity of nature of 
God as absolute, but that everything beside God which 
may appear as a unity is really a plurality of things. 
The existence of God they consider as a real existence, 
because everything that exists exists through him. It 
is not impossible to think that the existing beings are 
not and that he is, but it is impossible to think that he 
is not and that they arc. 

If we now pass from the ideas of the educated people 
among the Hindus to those of the common people, we 
must first state that they present a great variety. Some 
of them are simply abominable, but similar errors also 
occur in other religions. Nay, even in Islam we must de- 
cidedly disapprove, e.g. of the anthropomorphic doctrines, 
the teachings of the Jabriyya sect, the prohibition of 
the discussion of religious topics, and such like. Every 
religious sentence destined for the people at large must 



be carefully worded, as the following example shows. 
Some Hindu scholar calls God a point, meaning to say 
thereby that the qualities of bodies do not apply to him. 
Now some uneducated man reads this and imagines, 
God is as small as a p)oint, and he does not find out 
what the -^ovdi point in this sentence was really intended 
to express. He will not even stop with this offensive 
comparison, but will describe God as much larger, and 
will say, "He is twelve fingers longand ten fingers broad." 
Praise be to God, who is far above measure and number ! 
Further, if an uneducated man hears what we have 
mentioned, that God comprehends the universe so that 
nothing is concealed from him, he will at once imagine 
that this comprehending is effected by means of eye- 
sight ; that eyesight is only possible by means of an eye, 
and that two eyes are better than only one ; and in con- 
sequence he will describe God as having a thousand eyes, 
meaning to describe his omniscience. 

Similar hideous fictions are sometimes met with 
among the Hindus, es]3ecially among those castes who 
are not allowed to occupy themselves with science, of 
whom we shall speak hereafter. 



On this subject the ancient Greeks held nearly the Notions of 

. . , the Greeks 

same view as the Hindus, at all events in those times and the sAfi 
before philosophy rose high among them under the care pheis as to 
of the seven so-called 'pillars of tuisdom, viz. Solon of cause. 
Athens, Bias of Priene, Periander of Corinth, Thales of 
jMiletus, Chilon of Lacedasmon, Pittacus of Lesbos, and 
Cleobulus of Lindos, and their successors. Some of rage i6. 
them thought that all things are one, and this one thing- 
is according to some to XavOdv^iv, according to others 
i) SvvafjLis ; that e.g. man has only this prerogative 
before a stone and the inanimate world, that he is by 
one degree nearer than they to the First Cause. But 
this he would not be anything better than they. 

Others think that only the First Cause has real exist- 
ence, because it alone is self-sufficing, whilst everything 
else absolutely requires it; that a thing which for its 
existence stands in need of something else has only a 
dream-life, no real life, and that reality is only that one 
and first being (the First Cause). 

This is also the theory of the Sufis, i.e. the sages, Origin of 
for svf means in Greek vjisdom (o-o(/)ta). Therefore a sufi. 
philosopher is called paildsojKl ((piXoaocfios) , i.e. loving 
wisdom. When in Islam persons adopted something 
like the doctrines of the^Q philosophers, they also adopted 
their name ; but some people did not understand the 
meaning of the word, and erroneously combined it with 

VOL. I. C 


the Arabic word sicffa, as if tlie Sufi { = ^uXoaof^oi) were 
identical with the so-called '^A/-«.9^?i^^ff- among the com- 
panions of Muhammad. In later times the word was 
corrupted by misspelling, so that finally it was taken for 
a derivation from m/, i.e. the ivool of goats. Abu-alfath 
Albusti made a laudable effort to avoid this mistake 
when he said, " From olden times people have differed 
as to the meaning of the word sufi, and have thought 
it a derivative from suf, i.e. wool. I, for my part, 
understand by the word a youth who is sdfi, i.e. pure. 
This sdfi has become sufi, and in this form the name 
of a class of thinkers, the Sufi.'" 

Further, the same Greeks think that the existing 
world is only one thing ; that the First Cause appears in 
it under various shapes ; that the power of the First 
Cause is inherent in the parts of the world under dif- 
ferent circumstances, which cause a certain difference of 
the things of the world notwithstanding their original 

Others thought that he who turns with his whole 
being towards the First Cause, striving to become as 
much as possible similar to it, will become united with 
it after having passed the intermediate stages, and 
stripped of all appendages and impediments. Similar 
views are also held by the Silfi, because of the similarity 
of the dogma. 

As to the souls and spirits, the Greeks tliink that 
they exist by themselves before they enter bodies ; that 
they exist in certain numbers and groups, which stand 
in various relations to each other, knowing each other 
and not knowing ; that they, whilst staying in bodies, 
earn by the actions of their free-will that lot which 
awaits them after their separation from the bodies, 
i.f'. the faculty of ruling the world in various ways. 
Therefore tliey called them gods, built temples in their 
Galenas. uamcs and offered them sacrifices; as Galenus says in 
his book called TTpoTpeTrriKos els ras T€)(^vas : " Excel- 


lent men have obtained the honour of being reckoned 
among the deified beings only for the noble spirit in 
which they cultivated the arts, not for their prowess in 
wrestling and discus-throwing. H.g. Asclepius and 
Dionysos, whether they were originally human beings 
in bygone times and afterwards deified, or were divine 
beings from the very beginning, deserved in any case 
the greatest of honours, because the one taught man- rage r 
kind the science of medicine, the other the art of the 
cultivation of the vine." 

Galenus says in his commentary on the aphorisms of 
Hippocrates: "As regards the offerings to Asclepius, 
we have never heard that anybody offered him a goat, 
because the weaving of goat's-hair is not easy, and 
much goat's-meat produces epilepsy, since the humours 
of the goats are bad. People only offer him a cock, 
as also Hippocrates has done. For this divine man 
acquired for mankind the art of medicine, which is 
much superior to that which -Dionysos and Demeter 
have invented, i.e. the wine and the cereals whence 
bread is prepared. Therefore cereals are called by the 
name of Demeter and the vine is called by the name 
of Dionysos." 

Plato says in his Timceus: "The Oeot whom the Piuto. 
barbarians call gods, because of their not dying, are 
tlie oat/xot'es, whilst they call tJie god the first god.'^ 

Further he says : "God spoke to the gods, ' You are 
not of yourselves exempt from destruction. Only you 
will not perish by death. You have obtained from 
my will at the time when I created you, the firmest 
covenant.' " 

In another passage of the same book he says : "God 
is in the single number ; there are no gods in the plural 

These cpiotations prove that the Greeks call in 
general god everything that is glorious and noble, and 
the like usage exists among many nations. They go 

tic us 

Gale 1 J lis. 


even so far as to call gods the monntains, the seas, &c. 
Secondly, they apply the term god in a special sense 
to the First Cause, to the angels, and to their souls. 
According to a third usage, Plato calls gods the SeJdndt 
(z= Movcrat). But on this subject the terms of the 
interpreters are not perfectly clear ; in consequence 
of which we only know the name, but not what it 
Johannes uieans. Johannes Grammaticus says in his refutation 
of Proclus : " The Greeks gave the name of gods to 
the visible bodies in heaven, as many barbarians do. 
Afterwards, when they came to philosophise on the 
abstract ideas of the world of thought, they called these 
by the name of gods." 

Hence we must necessarily infer that being deified 
means something like the state of angels, according 
to our notions. This Galenus says in clear words 
in the same book : "If it is true that Asclepius was 
a man in bygone times, and that then God deigned 
to make him one of the. angels, everything else is idle 

In another passage of the same book he says : " God 

spoke to Lyciirgus, ' I am in doubt concerning you, 

whether to call you a man or an angel, but I incline to 

the latter.'" 

Difference There are, however, certain expressions which are 

nating Gud offensive according to the notions of one religion, whilst 

Hebrew, ' they are admissible according to those of another, which 

' ^"'*^' may pass in one language, whilst they are rejected by 

another. To this class belongs the word cqwtlicosis, 

which has a bad sound in the ears of Muslims. If we 

consider the use of the word god in the Arabic language, 

we find that all the names by which the j;?/?'e truth, i.e. 

Page 18. Allah, has been named, may somehow or other be applied 

to other beings besides him, except the word Alldh, 

which only applies to God, and which has been called 

his greatest name. 

If we consider the use of the word in Hebrew and 


Syriac, in which two languages the sacred books before 
the Koran were revealed, we find that in the Tliora and 
the following books of prophets which are reckoned 
with the Thora as one whole, that word Eahb corre- 
sponds to the word Allah in Arabic, in so far as it can- 
not in a genitive construction be applied to anybody 
besides God, and you cannot say the rahb of the house, 
the 7rihb of the property (which in Arabic is allowed). 
And, secondly, we find that the word 'Eloah in Hebrew 
corresponds in its usage there to the word Rabl) in 
Arabic {i.e. that in Hebrew the word n?X may apply 
to other beings but God, like the word CLSj in Arabic). 
The following passages occur in those books : — 

''The sons of MoJiim came in unto the daughters of 
men " (Gen. vi. 4), before the deluge, and cohabited with 

" Satan entered together with the sons of Elohim into 
their meeting " (Job i. 6). 

In the Thora of Moses God speaks to him : "I have 
made thee a god to Pharaoh" (Exod. vii. i). 

In the 82d Psalm of the Psalter of David the fol- 
lowing occurs : " God standeth in the congregation of 
the gods'' (Ps. Ixxxii. i), i.e. of the angels. 

In the Thora the idols are called foreign gods. If 
the Thora had not forbidden to worship any other being 
but God, if it had not forbidden people to prostrate 
themselves before the idols, nay, even to mention them 
and to think of them, one might infer from this expres- 
sion [foreign gods) that the order of the Bible refers 
only to the abolition oi foreign gods, which would mean 
gods that are 7iot Hebrew ones (as if the Hebrews had 
adored national gods, in opposition to the gods of their 
neighbours). The nations round Palestine were idol 
worshippers like the heathen Greeks, and the Israelites 
always rebelled against God by worshipping the idol of 
Baal (lit. Bct'la) and the idol of Ashtfiroth, i.e. Venus. 

From all this it is evident that the Hebrews used to 



apply the term being god, grammatically a term like 
being king, to the angels, to the souls invested with 
divine power (v. p. 34) ; by way of comparison, also, 
to the images which were made to represent the bodies 
of those beings ; lastly, metaphorically, to kings and to 
other great men. 

Passing from the word God to those of father and 
son, we must state that Islam is not liberal in the use of 
them ; for in Arabic the word son means nearly always 
as much as a cliild in the natural order of things, and 
from the ideas involved in parentage and birth can 
never be derived any expression meaning the Eternal 
Lord of creatioD. Other languages, however, take much 
more liberty in this respect ; so that if peo23le address a 
man by father, it is nearly the same as if they addressed 
him b}^ sir. As is well known, phrases of this kind 
have become so prevalent among the Christians, that 
anybody who does not always use the words /«^/ic?' and 
son in addressing people would scarcely be considered 
as one of them. By the son they understand most 
especially Jesus, but apply it also to others besides 
him. It is Jesus who orders his disciples to say in 
prayer, '* our father which art in heaven" (St. 
Matt. vi. 9) ; and informing them of his approaching 
death, he says that he is going to his father and to 
\X\^\v father (St. John xx. 17). In most of his speeches 
he explains the word the son as meaning himself, that 
he is the son of man. 

Besides the Christians, the Jews too use similar ex- 
Page 19. pressions; for the 2d Book of Kings relates that God 
consoled David for the loss of liis son, who had been 
borne to him by the wife of Uriah, and promised him 
another son from her, whom he would adopt as his 
own son (i Chron. xxii. 9, 10). If the use of the 
Hebrew language admits that Salomo is by adoption a 
son of God, it is admissible that he who adopted was a 
father, viz. God. 


The Manichseans stand in a near relationship to the Note on 
Christians. Mani expresses himself in a similar way in chc^aus. 
the book called Kanz-aVihyd {Thesaurus Vivificationis) : 
" The resplendent hosts will be called young women and 
virgins, fathers and mothers, sons, brothers, and sisters, 
because such is the custom in the books of the prophets. 
In the country of joy there is neither male nor female, 
nor are there organs of generation. All are invested 
with living bodies. Since they have divine bodies, they 
do not differ from each other in weakness and force, in 
length and shortness, in figure and looks ; they are like 
similar lamps, which are lighted by the same lamp, and 
which are nourished by the same material. The cause 
of this kind of name-giving arises, in the last instance, 
from the rivalry of the two realms in mixiug up with 
each other. When the low dark realm rose from the 
abyss of chaos, and was seen by the high resplendent 
realm as consisting of pairs of male and female beings, 
the latter gave similar outward forms to its own chil- 
dren, who started to fight that other world, so that it 
placed in the fight one kind of beings opposite the 
same kind of the other world." 

The educated among the Hindus abhor anthropo- 
morphisms of this kind, but the crowd and the mem- 
bers of the single sects use them most extensively. 
They go even beyond all we have hitherto mentioned, 
so as to speak of wife, son, daughter, of the rendering 
pregnant and other physical processes, all in connection 
with God. They are even so little pious, that, when 
speaking of these things, they do not even abstain from 
silly and unbecoming language. However, nobody 
minds these classes and their theories, though they be 
numerous. The main and most essential point of the Notions of 

^ the edu- 

Hindu world of thous^ht is that which the Brahmans catedHm- 

° . dus. All 

think and believe, for they are specially trained for pre- created 

... . . beings are 

serving and maintaining their religion. And this it is a unity. 
which we shall explain, viz. the belief of the Brahmans. 


Regarding the whole creation (to oj'), they think that 
it is a unity, as has already been declared, because 
Vasudeva speaks in the book called Gitd : " To speak 
accurately, we must say that all things are divine ; for 
Vishnu made himself the earth that the living beings 
should rest thereupon ; he made himself water to nourish 
them thereby ; he made himself fire and wind in order 
to make them grow ; and he made himself the heart of 
every single being. He presented them with recollec- 
tion and knowledge and the two opposite qualities, as 
is mentioned in the Veda." 

How much does this resemble the expression of the 
author of the book of Apollonius, De Causis Rerum, as 
if the one had been taken from the other ! He says : 
" There is in all men a divine power, by which all 
things, both material and immaterial, are apprehended." 
Thus in Persian the immaterial Lord is called KJmdhd, 
and in a derivative sense the word is also used to mean 
a man, i.e. a human lord. 

Pumsha. I. Those Hindus who prefer clear and accurate defi- 

nitions to vague allusions call the soul purusha, which 
means man, because it is the living element in the 
existing world. Life is the only attribute which they 
give to it. They describe it as alternately knowing 
and not knowing, as not knowing eV Trpd^et (actually), 
and as knowing iv Swdixet (potentially), gaining know- 
ledge by acquisition. The not-knowing of purusha is 

Page 20. the cause why action comes into existence, and its 
knowing is the cause why action ceases. 

II. Next follows the general matter, i.e. the abstract 

Avyakta. vXrj, which they call avyakta, i.e. a shapeless thing. It 
is dead, but has three powers potentially, not actually, 
which are called sattva, rajas, and tamas. I have heard 
that Buddhodana (sic), in speaking to his adherents the 
Shamanians, calls them huddha, dharma, sanglia, as it 
were intelligence, religion, and ignorance (sic). The first 
power is rest and goodness, and hence come existing 


and growing. The second is exertion and fatigue, and 
hence come firmness and duration. The third is languor 
and irresolution, and hence come ruin and perishing. 
Therefore the first power is attributed to the angels, 
the second to men, the third to the animals. The ideas 
before, afterwards, and thereupon may be predicated of 
all these things only in the sense of a certain sequence 
and on account of the inadequacy of language, but not 
so as to indicate any ordinary notions of time. 

III. Matter proceeding from SvvauLis into TrpaAs under vyaktaand 

T . T T 7 . /. prakriti. 

the various shapes and with the t/iree primary jorces 
is called vyahta, i.e. having shape, whilst the union of 
the abstract vX-i] and of the shaped matter is called 
prakriti. This term, however, is of no use to us ; we 
do not want to speak of an abstract matter, the term 
matter alone being suflficient for us, since the one does 
not exist without the other. 

IV. Next comes nature, which they call ahanlidra. Ahaukara. 
The word is derived from the ideas of overjyowering, de- 
vclopi7ig, and self-assertion, because matter when assum- 
ing shape causes things to develop into new forms, and 

this growing consists in the changing of a foreign ele- 
ment and assimilating it to the growing one. Hence 
it is as if Nature were trying to overpower those other 
or foreign elements in this process of changing them, 
and were subduing that which is changed. 

V.-IX. As a matter of course, each compound pre- Mababhuta 
supposes simple elements from which it is compounded 
and into which it is resolved again. The universal 
existences in the world are the five elements, i.e. accord- 
ing to the Hindus : heaven, wind, fire, water, and earth. 
They are called mahdbhitta, i.e. having great natures. 
They do not think, as other people do, that the fire is 
a hot dry body near the bottom of the ether. They 
understand by fire the common fire on earth which 
comes from an inflammation of smoke. The Vdyii Annotation 
Purdna says : " In the beginning were earth, water, wind, pilSna?^'* 


and heaven. Brahman, on seeing sparks under the 
earth, brought them forward and divided them into 
three parts : the first, pdrthiva, is the common fire, 
which requires wood and is extinguished by water ; the 
second is divya, i.e. the sun ; the third, vidyut, i.e. the 
lightning. The sun attracts the water ; the lightning 
shines through the water. In the animals, also, there is 
fire in the midst of moist substances, which serve to 
nourish the fire and do not extinguish it." 

X.-XIV. As these elements are compound, they pre- 
suppose simple ones which are called paTica mdtdras, 
i.e. five mothers. They describe them as the functions 
of the senses. The simple element of heaven is sabda, 
i.e. that which is heard ; that of the wind is sparsa, 
i.e. that which is touched ; that of the fire is rilpa, i.e. 
that which is seen ; that of the water is rasa, i.e. that 
which is tasted ; and that of the earth is gandha, i.e. 
that which is smelled. With each of these mahdbhilta 
elements (earth, water, &c.) they connect, firstly, one of 
the panca-mdtdras elements, as we have here shown ; 
and, secondly, all those which have been attributed to 
the malidhliuta elements previously mentioned. So 
the earth has all five qualities; the water has them 
mimts the smelling ( == four qualities) ; the fire has them 
minus the smelling and tasting {i.e. three qualities) ; the 
wind has them minus smelling, tasting, and seeing {i.e. 
two qualities) ; heaven has them miimis smelling, tast- 
ing, seeing, and touching {i.e. one quality). 

I do not know what the Hindus mean by bringing 
sound into relation with heaven. Perhaps they mean 
something similar to what Homer, the poet of the 
ancient Greeks, said, " Those invested luitli the seven melo- 
dies speak and give answer to caeh other in a pleasant 
tone.^' Thereby he meant the seven planets ; as another 
poet says, " The spheres endowed with different melodies 
are seven, moving eter7ially, praising the Creator, for it is 
he who holds them and embraces thein icnto the farthest 
end of the starless sphere." 


Porphyry says in his book on the opinions of the 
most prominent philosophers about the nature of the 
sphere : '• The heavenly bodies moving about in forms 
and shapes and with wonderful melodies, which are 
fixed for ever, as Pythagoras and Diogenes have ex- 
plained, point to their Creator, who is without equal 
and without shape. People say that Diogenes had 
such subtle senses that he, and he alone, could hear the 
sound of the motion of the sphere." 

All these expressions are rather hints than clear 
speech, but admitting of a correct interpretation on a 
scientific basis. Some successor of those philosophers, 
one of those who did not grasp the full truth, says : 
" Sight is watery, hearing airy, smelling fiery, tasting 
earthy, and touching is what the soul bestows upon 
everybody by uniting itself with it." I suppose this 
philosopher connects the sight with the water because 
he had heard of the moist substances of the eye and of 
their different classes (lacuna); he refers the smelling 
to the fire on account of frankincense and smoke ; the 
tasting to the earth because of his nourishment which 
the earth yields him. As, then, the four elements are 
finished, he is compelled for the fifth sense, the touch- 
ing, to have recourse to the soul. 

The result of all these elements which we have enu- 
merated, i.e. a compound of all of them, is the animal. 
The Hindus consider the plants as a species of animal 
as Plato also thinks that the plants have a sense, 
because they have the faculty of distinguishing between 
that which suits them and that which is detrimental to 
them. The animal is an animal as distinguished from 
a stone by virtue of its possession of the senses. 

XV. -XIX. The senses are five, called indriydni, the luariyj 
heariug by the ear, the seeing by the eye, the smelling 
by the nose, the tasting by the tongue, and the touching 
by the skin. 

XX. Next follows the will, which directs the senses Mausa. 



Page 22. 

tion of the 

in the exercise of their various functions, and which 
dwells in the heart. Therefore they call it manas. 

XXI.-XXV. The animal nature is rendered perfect 
by five necessary functions, which they call karmendri- 
ydni, i.e. the senses of action. The former senses bring 
about learning and knowledge, the latter action and 
work. We shall call them the necessaria. They are : 
I. To produce a sound for any of the different wants 
and wishes a man may have ; 2. To throw the hands 
with force, in order to draw towards or to put away ; 
3. To walk with the feet, in order to seek something 
or to fly from it; 4, 5. The ejection of the superfluous 
elements of nourishment by means of the two openings 
created for the purpose. 

The whole of these elements are twenty-five, viz. : — 

1. The general soul. 

2. The abstract vXt-j. 

3. The shaped matter. 

4. The overpowering nature. 
5-9. The simple mothers. 
10-14. The primary elements. 
15-19. The senses of apperception. 
20. The directing will. 

21-25. The instrumental necessaria. 

The totality of these elements is called tattva, and all 
knowledge is restricted to them. Therefore Vyasa the 
son of Parasara speaks : " Learn twenty-five by dis- 
tinctions, definitions, and divisions, as you learn a 
logical syllogism, and something which is a certainty, 
not merely studying with the tongue. Afterwards 

adhere to whatever religion you 
be salvation." 




( 45 ) 



Voluntary actions cannot originate in the body of any The «oui 
animal, unless the body be living and exist in close con- be united' 
tact with that which is living of itself, i.e. the soul. body,\^s^so 
The Hindus maintain that the soul is eV irpd^ei, not iirte^medi- 
ev 8vvdix€L, ignorant of its own essential nature and of '"^^^^ ^p^'^^s. 
its material substratum, louging to apprehend what it 
does not know, and believing that it cannot exist unless 
by matter. As, therefore, it longs for the good which 
is duration, and wishes to learn that which is hidden 
from it, it starts off in order to be united with matter. 
However, substances which are dense and such as are 
tenuous, if they have tliese qualities in the very highest 
degree, can mix together only by means of interme- 
diary elements which stand in a certain relation to 
each of the two. Thus the air is the medium be- 
tween fire and water, which are opposed to each other by 
these two qualities, for the air is related to the fire in 
tenuity and to the water in density, and by either of 
these qualities it renders the one capable of mixing 
with the other. Now, there is no greater antithesis than 
that between body and not-hody. Therefore the soul, 
being what it is, cannot obtain the fulfilment of its 
wish but by similar media, spirits which derive their 
existence from the mafres siviplices in the worlds called 
Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, and Svarloka. The Hindus call 
them tenuous todies over which the soul rises like the 


sun over the earth, in order to distinguish them from 
the de7ise bodies which derive their existence from the 
common five elements. The soul, in consequence of 
this union with the media, uses them as its vehicles. 
Thus the image of the sun, though he is only one, is re- 
presented in many mirrors which are placed opposite to 
him, as also in the water of vessels placed opposite. 
The sun is seen alike in each mirror and each vessel, 
and in each of them his warming and light-giving effect 
is perceived. 

When, now, the various bodies, being from their 
nature compounds of different things, come into exist- 
ence, being composed of mcde elements, viz. bones, 
veins, and sperma, and of femcde elements, viz. flesh, 
blood, and hair, and being thus fully prepared to receive 
life, then those spirits unite themselves with them, and 
the bodies are to the spirits what castles or fortresses 
are to the various affairs of princes. In a farther stage 
of development five winds enter the bodies. By the 
first and second of them the inhaling and exhaling are 
effected, by the third the mixture of the victuals in the 
stomach, by the fourth the locomotion of the body from 
one place to the other, by the fifth the transferring of 
the apperception of the senses from one side of the body 
to the other. 

The spirits here mentioned do not, accordiug to the 
notions of the Hindus, differ from each other in sub- 
stance, but have a precisely identical nature. However, 
their individual characters and manners differ in the 
same measure as the bodies with which they are united 
differ, on account of the three forces which are in them 
striving with each other for supremacy, and on account 
of their harmony being disturbed by the passions of 
envy and wrath. 

Such, then, is the supreme highest cause of the soul's 
starting off into action. 

On the other hand, the lotocst cause, as proceeding 


from matter, is this : that matter for its part seeks for on matter 
perfection, and always prefers that which is better to union with 
that which is less good, viz. proceeding from StVa/xt? 
into irpa^is. In consequence of the vainglory and 
ambition which are its pith and marrow, matter pro- 
duces and shows all kinds of possibilities which it 
contains to its pupil, the soul, and carries it round 
through all classes of vegetable and animal beings. 
Hindus compare the soul to a dancing-girl who is clever illustrations 
in her art and knows well what effect each motion and ticuilVkTud 
pose of hers has. She is in the presence of a sybarite 
most eager of enjoying what she has learned. Now she 
begins to produce the various kinds of her art one after 
the other' under the admiring gaze of the host, until her 
programme is finished and the eagerness of the spectator 
has been satisfied. Then she stops suddenly, since she 
could not produce anything but a repetition ; and as a 
repetition is not wished for, he dismisses her, and action 
ceases. The close of this kind of relation is illustrated 
by the following simile : A caravan has been attacked 
in the desert by robbers, and the members of it have 
fled in all directions except a blind man and a lame 
man, who remain on the spot in helplessness, despairing 
of their escape. After they meet and recognise each 
other, the lame speaks to the blind : " I cannot move, 
but I can lead the way, whilst the opposite is the case 
with you. Therefore put me on your shoulder and 
carry me, that I may show you the way and that we 
may escape together from this calamity." This the 
blind man did. They obtained their purpose by helping 
each other, and they left each other on coming out of 
the desert. 

Further, the Hindus speak in difi"erent ways of the Action of 
agent, as we have already mentioned. So the Vishnu mg from an 
Furdna says : " Matter is the origin of the world. Its position. 
action in the world rises from an innate disposition, as 
a tree sows its own seed by an innate disposition, not 


intentionally, and the wind cools the water though it 
only intends blowing. Voluntary action is only due to 
Vishnu." By the latter expression the author means 
the living being who is above matter (God). Through 
him matter becomes an agent toiling for him as a friend 
toils for a friend without wanting anything for himself. 

On this theory Mani has built the following sentence : 
" The Apostles asked Jesus about the life of inanimate 
nature, whereupon he said, ' If that which is inanimate 
is separated from the living element which is com- 
mingled with it, and appears alone by itself, it is again 
inanimate and is not capable of living, whilst the living 
element which has left it, retaining its vital energy 
unimpaired, never dies.' " 

The book of Saiiikhya derives action from matter, for 
the difference of forms under which matter appears 
depends upon the three 'prwiarij forces, and upon whether 
one or two of them gain the supremacy over the 
remainder. These forces are the angelic, the liuvian, 
and the animal. The three forces belong only to matter, 
not to the soul. The task of the soul is to learn the 
actions of matter like a spectator, resembling a traveller 
who sits down in a village to repose. Each villager is 
busy with his own particular work, but he looks at 
them and considers their doings, disliking some, liking 
others, and taking an example from them. In this way 
he is busy without having himself any share in the 
business going on, and without being the cause which 
has brouoht it about. 


The book of Sariikhya brings action into relation with 
the soul, though the soul has nothing to do with action, 
only in so far as it resembles a man who happens to 
get into the company of people whom he does not 
know. They are robbers returning from a village 
which they have sacked and destroyed, and he has 
scarcely marched with them a short distance, when 
they are overtaken by the avengers. The whole party 


are taken prisoners, and together with them the inno- 
cent man is dragged off ; and being treated precisely 
as they are, he receives the same punishment, without 
having taken part in their action. 

People say the soul resembles the rain-water which 
comes down from heaven, always the same and of the 
same nature. However, if it is gathered in vessels 
placed for the purpose, vessels of different materials, of 
gold, silver, glass, earthenware, clay, or bitter-salt earth, 
it begins to differ in appearance, taste, and smell. Thus 
the soul does not influence matter in any way, except 
in this, that it gives matter life b}^ being in close con- 
tact with it. When, then, matter begins to act, the 
result is different, in conformity with the one of the 
three primary forces which happens to preponderate, 
and conformably to the mutual assistance which the 
other two latent forces afford to the former. This 
assistance may be given in various ways^ as the fresh 
oil, the dry wick, and the smoking fire help each other 
to produce light. The soul is in matter like the rider 
on a carriage, being attended by the senses, who drive 
the carriage according to the rider's intentions. But 
the soul for its part is guided by the intelligence with 
which it is inspired by God. This intelligence they 
describe as that by which the reality of things is appre- 
hended, which shows the way to the knowledge of God, 
and to such actions as are liked and praised by every- 


( 50 ) 



As the ivord of co7ifession," There is no god but God, 
Muliammad is his prophet," is the shibboleth of Islam, 
the Trinity that of Christianity, and the institute of 
the Sabbath that of Judaism, so metempsychosis is 
the shibboleth of the Hindu religion. Therefore he 
who does not believe in it does not belong to them, 
and is not reckoned as one of them. For they hold the 
following belief : — 

The soul, as long as it has not risen to the highest 
absolute intelligence, does not comprehend the totality 
of objects at once, or, as it were, in no time. Therefore 
it must explore all particular beings and examine all the 
possibilities of existence ; and as their number is, though 
not unlimited, still an enormous one, the soul wants an 
enormous space of time in order to finish the contem- 
plation of such a multiplicity of objects. The soul 
acquires knowledge only by the contemplation of the 
individuals and the species, and of their peculiar actions 
and conditions. It gains experience from each object, 
and gathers thereby new knowledge. 

However, these actions differ in the same measure as 
the three primary forces differ. Besides, the world is 
not left without some direction, being led, as it were, by 
a bridle and directed towards a definite scope. There- 
fore the imperishable souls wander about in perishable 
bodies conformably to the difference of their actions, as 


they prove to be good or bad. The object of the migra- 
tion through the world of Tciuard {i.e. heaven) is to 
direct the attention of the soul to the good, that it should 
become desirous of acquiring as much of it as possible. 
The object of its migration through the world of yttn- 
ishment {i.e. hell) is to direct its attention to the bad 
and abominable, that it should strive to keep as far as 
possible aloof from it. 

The migration begins from low stages, and rises to 
higher and better ones, not the contrary, as we state 
on purpose, since the one is a priori as possible as the 
other. The difference of these lower and higher stages 
depends upon the difference of the actions, and this 
again results from the quantitative and qualitative 
diversity of the temperaments and the various degrees 
of combinations in which they appear. 

This migration lasts until the object aimed at has 
been completely attained both for the soul and matter ; 
the lower aim being the disappearance of the shape of 
matter, except any such new formation as may appear 
desirable ; the hi/fher aim being the ceasing of the desire 
of the soul to learn what it did not know before, the 
insight of the soul into the nobility of its own being 
and its independent existence, its knowing that it can 
dispense with matter after it has become acquainted 
with the mean nature of matter and the instability of 
its shapes, with all that which matter offers to the 
senses, and with the truth of the tales about its 
delights. Then the soul turns away from matter ; the 
connecting links are broken, the union is dissolved. 
Separation and dissolution take place, and the soul 
returns to its home, carrying with itself as much of the 
bliss of knowledge as sesame develops grains and 
blossoms, afterwards never separating from its oil. 
The intelligent being, intelligence and its object, are 
united and become one. 

It is now our duty to produce from their literature 


Quotations some cleai' testimonies as to this subject and cognate 
book Gitd. theories of other nations. 

Vasudeva speaks to Arjuna instigating him to the 
battle, whilst they stand between the two lines : " If you 
believe in predestination, you must know that neither 
they nor we are mortal, and do not go away without a 
return, for the souls are immortal and unchangeable. 
They migrate through the bodies, while man changes 
from childhood into youth, into manhood and infirm 
age, the end of which is the death of the body. There- 
after the soul proceeds on its return." 

Further he says : " How can a man think of death 
and being killed who knows that the soul is eternal, 
not having been born and not perishing ; that the soul 
Page 26. is something stable and constant ; that no sword can 
cut it, no fire burn it, no water extinguish it, and no 
wind wither it? The soul migrates from its body, after it 
has become old, into another, a different one, as the body, 
when its dress has become old, is clad in another. What 
then is your sorrow about a soul which does not perish ? 
If it were perishable, it would be more becoming that 
you should not sorrow about a thing which may be dis- 
pensed with, which does not exist, and does not return 
into existence. But if you look more to your body 
than to your soul, and are in anxiety about its perish- 
ing, you must know that all that which is born dies, 
and that all that which dies returns into another exist- 
ence. However, both life and death are not your con- 
cern. They are in the hands of God, from whom all 
things come and to whom they return." 

In the further course of conversation Arjuna speaks 
to Vasudeva : "How did you dare thus to fight Brahman, 
Brahman who was before the world was and before 
man was, whilst you are living among us as a being, 
whose birth and age are known ? " 

Thereupon Vasudeva answered: " Eternity (pre-exist- 
ence) is common to both of us and to him. How often 


have we lived together, when I knew the times of our life 
and death, whilst they were concealed from you ! When 
I desire to appear in order to do some good, I array 
myself in a body, since one cannot be with man except 
in a human shape." 

People tell a tale of a king, whose name I have 
forgotten, who ordered his people after his death to 
bury his body on a spot where never before had a dead 
person been buried. Now they sought for sucli a spot, 
but could not find it ; finally, on finding a rock pro- 
jecting out of the ocean, they thought they had found 
what they wanted. But then Vasudeva spoke unto 
them, " This king has been burned on this identical 
rock already many times. But now do as you like ; for 
the king only wanted to give you a lesson, and this 
aim of his has now been attained." 

Vasudeva says : " He who hopes for salvation and 
strives to free himself from the world, but whose heart 
is not obedient to his wish, will be rewarded for his 
action in the worlds of those who receive a good re- 
ward ; but he does not attain his last object on account 
of his deficiency, therefore he will return to this world, 
and will be found worthy of entering a new shape of a 
kind of beings whose special occupation is devotion. 
Divine inspiration helps him to raise himself in this 
new shape by degrees to that which he already wished 
for in the first shape. His heart begins to comply with 
his wish ; he is more and more purified in the different 
shapes, until he at last obtains salvation in an uninter- 
rupted series of new births." 

Further, Vasudeva says: "If the soul is free from 
matter, it is knowing ; but as long as it is clad in matter, 
the soul is not-knowing, on account of the turbid nature 
of matter. It thinks that it is an agent, and that the 
actions of the world are prepared for its sake. There- 
fore it clings to them, and it is stamped with the im- 
pressions of the senses. When, then, the soul leaves 


the body, the traces of the impressions of the senses 
remain in it, and are not completely eradicated, as it 
longs for the world of sense and returns towards it. 
And since it in these stages undergoes changes entirely 
opposed to each other, it is thereby subject to the 
influences of the three i^rimary forces. What, therefore, 
can the soul do, its wing being cut, if it is not suffi- 
ciently trained and prepared ? " 

Vasudeva says : " The best of men is the perfectly 
wise one, for he loves God and God loves him. How 
many times has he died and been born again ! During 
his whole life he perseveringly seeks for perfection till 
he obtains it." 

In the Vishnu-Dharma, Markandeya, speaking of the 
spiritual beings, says : " Brabman, Karttikeya, son of 
Mahadeva, Lakshmi, who produced the Amrita, Daksha, 
who was beaten by Mahadeva, Umadevi, the wife of 
Mahadeva, each of them has been in the middle of this 
kaipct, and they have been the same already many 

Varahamibira speaks of the influences of the comets, 
and of the calamities which befall men when they 
appear. These calamities compel them to emigrate 
from their homes, lean from exhaustion, moaning over 
their mishap, leading their children by the hand along 
the road, and speaking to each other in low tones, 
" We are punished for the sins of our kings ; " where- 
upon others answer, " Not so. This is the retribution 
for what we have done in the former life, before we 
entered these bodies." 

When Mani was banished from Errmshahr, he went 
to India, learned metempsychosis from the Hindus, and 
transferred it into his own system. He sa^^s in the Boole, 
of Mysteries : " Since the Ajoostles knew that the souls 
are immortal, and that in their migrations they array 
themselves in every form, that they are shaped in every 
animal, and are cast in the mould of every figure, they 


asked Messiah what would be the end of those souls which 
did not receive the truth nor learn the origin of their 
existence. Whereupon he said, ' Any weak soul which 
has not received all that belongs to her of truth perishes 
without any rest or bliss.'" 'By perishing Mani means 
her being punished, not her total disappearance. For 
in another place he says : " The partisans of Bardesanes 
think that the living soul rises and is purified in the 
carcase, not knowing that the latter is the enemy of 
the soul, that the carcase prevents the soul from rising, 
that it is a prison, and a painful punishment to the 
soul. If this human figure were a real existence, its 
creator would not let it wear out and suffer injury, and 
would not have compelled it to reproduce itself by the 
sperma in the uterus." 

The following passage is taken from the book of Patafijaii 
Patanjali : — " The soul, being on all sides tied to 
ignorance, which is the cause of its being fettered, 
is like rice in its cover. As long as it is there, 
it is capable of growing and ripening in the tran- 
sition stages between being born and giving birth 
itself. But if the cover is taken off the rice, it ceases 
to develop in this way, and becomes stationary. 
The retribution of the soul depends on the various 
kinds of creatures through which it wanders, upon 
the extent of life, whether it be long or short, and 
upon the particular kind of its happiness, be it scanty 
or ample." 

The pupil asks : " What is the condition of the spirit 
when it has a claim to a recompense or has committed 
a crime, and is then entangled in a kind of new birth 
either in order to receive bliss or to be punished ? " 

The master says : "It migrates according to what 
it has previously done, fluctuating between happiness Pag9 28. 
and misfortune, and alternately experiencing pain or 

The pupil asks : " If a man commits something which 


necessitates a retribution for him in a different shape 
from that in which he has committed the thiDg, and if 
between both stages there is a great interval of time 
and the matter is forgotten, what then ? " 

The master answers: "It is the nature of action to 
adhere to the spirit, for action is its product, whilst 
the body is only an instrument for it. Forgetting does 
not apply to spiritual matters, for they lie outside of 
time, with the nature of which the notions of long and 
short duration are necessarily connected. Action, by 
adhering to the spirit, frames its nature and character 
into a condition similar to that one into which the soul 
will enter on its next migration. The soul in its purity 
knows this, thinks of it, and does not forget it ; but the 
light of the soul is covered by the turbid nature of the 
body as long as it is connected with the body. Then 
the soul is like a man who remembers a thing which he 
once knew, but then forgot in consequence of insanity 
or an illness or some intoxication which overpowered his 
mind. Do you not observe that little children are in 
high spirits when people wish them a long life, and 
are sorry when people imprecate upon them a speedy 
death ? And what would the one thing or the other 
signify to them, if they had not tasted the sweetness of 
life and experienced the bitterness of death in former 
generations through which they had been migrating to 
undergo the due course of retribution ? " 

The ancient Greeks agreed with the Hindus in this 
belief. Socrates says in the book Phaedo : " We are 
reminded in the tales of the ancients that the souls 
go from here to Hades, and then come from Hades 
to here ; that the living originates from the dead, and 
that altogether things originate from their contraries. 
Therefore those who have died are among the living. 
Our souls lead an existence of their own in Hades. 
The soul of each man is glad or sorry at something, and 
contemplates this thing. This impressionable nature 


ties the soul to the body, nails it down in the body, 
and gives it, as it were, a bodily figure. The soul 
which is not pure cannot go to Hades. It quits the 
body still filled with its nature, and then migrates 
hastily into another body, in which it is, as it were, 
deposited and made fast. Therefore, it has no share in 
the living of the company of the unique, pure, divine 

Further he says : "If the soul is an independent 
being, our learning is nothing but remembering that 
which we had learned previously, because our souls 
were in some place before they appeared in this human 
figure. When people see a thing to the use of which 
they were accustomed in childhood, they are under the 
influence of this impressionability, and a cymbal, for 
instance, reminds them of the boy who used to beat it, 
whom they, however, had forgotten. Forgetting is the 
vanishing of knowledge, and knowing is the soul's 
remembrance of that which it had learned before it 
entered the body." 

Proclus says : " Remembering and forgetting are 
peculiar to the soul endowed with reason. It is 
evident that the soul has always existed. Hence it 
follows that it has always been both knowing and for- Page 29. 
getting, knowing when it is separated from the body, 
forgetting when it is in connection with the body. For, 
being separated from the body, it belongs to the realm 
of the spirit, and therefore it is knowing ; but being 
connected wdth the body, it descends from the realm of 
the spirit, and is exposed to forgetting because of some 
forcible influence prevailing over it." 

The same doctrine is professed by those 8ufi who siift 
teach that this world is a sleeping soul and yonder 
world a soul awake, and who at the same time admit 
that God is immanent in certain places — e.g. in heaven 
— in the seat and the throne of God (mentioned in the 
Koran). But then there are others who admit that 


God is immanent in the whole world, in animals, trees, 
and the inanimate world, which they call his universal 
ajjpearance. To those who hold this view, the entering 
of the souls into various beings in the course of metem- 
psychosis is of no consequence. 

( 59 ) 



The Hindus call the world loka. Its primary division The three 
consists of the upper, the low, and the middle.- The 
upper one is called svarloka, i,e. paradise ; the low, 
ndgaloka, i.e. the world of the serpents, which is hell ; 
besides they call it naraloka, and sometimes also patella, 
i.e. the lowest world. The middle world, that one in 
which we live, is called madhyaloka and manashyaloka, 
i.e. the world of men. In the latter, man has to earn, in 
the upper to receive his reward ; in the low, to receive 
punishment. A man who deserves to .come to svarloka 
or ndgaloka receives there the full recompense of his 
deeds during a certain length of time corresponding to 
the duration of his deeds, but in either of them there is 
only the soul, the soul free from the body. 

For those who do not deserve to rise to heaven and to 
sink as low as hell there is another world called tiryag- 
loka, the irrational world of j^lants and animals, through 
the individuals of which the soul has to wander in 
the metempsychosis until it reaches the human being, 
rising by degrees from the lowest kinds of the vegetable 
world to the highest classes of the sensitive world. The 
stay of the soul in this world has one of the following 
causes : either the award which is due to the soul is not 
sufficient to raise it into heaven or to sink it into hell, 
or the soul is in its wanderings on the way back from 
hell ; for they believe that a soul returning to the human 



from the 

Page 30. 

world from heaven at once adopts a human body, 
whilst that one which returns there from hell has first 
to wander about in plants and animals before it reaches 
the degree of living in a human body. 

The Hindus speak in their traditions of a large num- 
ber of hells, of their qualities and their names, and for 
each kind of sin they have a special hell. The number 
of hells is 88,000 according to the Vishnu- Pur di) a. 
We shall quote what this book says on the subject : — 

"The man who makes a false claim and who bears 
false witness, he who helps these two and he who 
ridicules people, come into the Raurava hell. 

"He who sheds innocent blood, who robs others of 
their rights and plunders them, and who kills cows, 
comes into Rodha. Those also who strangle people 
come here. 

"Whoso kills a Brahman, and he who steals gold, 
and their companions, the princes who do not look after 
their subjects, he who commits adultery with the family 
of his teacher, or who lies down with his mother-in-law, 
come into TaiJtakumhha. 

" Whoso connives at the shame of his wife for greedi- 
ness, commits adultery with his sister or the wife of his 
son, sells his child, is stingy towards himself with his 
property in order to save it, comes into Mahdjivdla. 

"Whoso is disrespectful to his teacher and is not 
pleased with him, despises men, commits incest with 
animals, contemns the Veda and Puranas, or tries to 
make a gain by means of them in the markets, comes 
into Savala. 

"A man who steals and commits tricks, who opposes 
the straight line of conduct of men, who hates his 
father, who does not like God and men, who does not 
honour the gems which God has made glorious, and 
who considers them to be like other stones, comes into 

" Whoso does not honour the rights of parents and 


grandparents, whoso does not do his doty towards the 
angels, the maker of arrows and spear-points, come to 

" The maker of swords and knives comes to Visasaiia. 

" He who conceals his property, being greedy for the 
presents of the rulers, and the Brahman who sells meat 
or oil or bntter or sauce or wine, come to Adhomukha. 

" He who rears cocks and cats, small cattle, pigs, and 
birds, comes to Rudhirdndlta. 

" Public performers and singers in the markets, those 
who dig wells for drawing water, a man who cohabits 
with his wife on holy days, who throws hre into the 
houses of men, who betrays his companion and then 
receives him, beiug greedy for his property, come to 

" He who takes the honey out of the beehive comes 
to V altar a III. 

"Whoso takes away by force the proj^erty and 
women of others in the intoxication of youth comes 
to Krishna. 

" Whoso cuts down the trees comes to Asipatrairma. 

"The hunter, and the maker of snares and traps, 
come to Vahnij icdla. 

" He who neglects the customs and rules, and he who 
violates the laws — and he is the worst of all — come to 

We have given this enumeration only in order to 
show what kinds of deeds the Hindus abhor as sins. 

Some Hindus believe that the middle world, that one According 
for earning, is the human world, and that a man wan- Hindus, the 
ders about in it, because he has received a reward which SiSigh'^ 
does not lead him into heaven, but at the same time in^mais" 
saves him from hell. They consider heaven as a higher piacTo?^ 
stage, where a man lives in a state of bliss which must ^^^^' 
be of a certain duration on account of the good deeds 
he has done. On the contrary, they consider the wan- 
dering about in plants and animals as a lower stage, 



where a man dwells for punishment for a certain length 
of time, which is thought to correspond to the wretched 
deeds he has done. People who hold this view do not 
know of another hell, but this kind of degradation 
below the degree of living as a human being. 

All these degrees of retribution are necessary for this 
reason, that the seeking for salvation from the fetters 
of matter frequently does not proceed on the straight 
line which leads to absolute knowledge, but on lines 
chosen by guessing or chosen because others had chosen 
them. Not one action of man shall be lost, not even 
the last of all ; it shall be brought to his account after 
his good and bad actions have been balanced against 
each other. The retribution, however, is not according 
to the deed, but according to the intention which a man 
had in doing it ; and a man will receive his reward 
either in the form in which he lives on earth, or in that 
form into which his soul will migrate, or in a kind of 
intermediary state after he has left his shape and has 
not yet entered a new one. 

Here now the Hindus quit the path of philosophical 
speculation and turn aside to traditional fables as re- 
gards the two places where reward or punishment is 
given, ejj. that man exists there as an incorporeal being, 
and that after having received the reward of his actions 
he again returns to a bodily appearance and human 
shape, in order to be prepared for his further destiny. 
Therefore the author of the book Sdmhhya does not 
consider the reward of paradise a special gain, because it 
has an end and is not eternal, and because this kind of 
life resembles the life of this our world ; for it is not 
free from ambition and envy, having in itself various 
degrees and classes of existence, whilst cupidity and 
desire do not cease save where there is perfect equalit3^ 

The Siifi, too, do not consider the stay in paradise a 
special gain for another reason, because there the soul 
delights in other things but the Truth, i.e. God, and its 


thoughts are diverted from the Absolute Good by things 
which are not the Absolute Good. 

We have already said that, according to the belief of ou the soui 
the Hindus, the soul exists in these two places without body"° 
a body. But this is only the view of the educated popular"^' ^^ 
among them, who understand by the soul an indepen- ^^^^^'^' 
dent being. However, the lower classes, and those who 
cannot imagine the existence of the soul without a 
body, hold about this subject very different views. One 
is this, that the cause of the agony of death is the soul's 
waiting for a shape which is to be prepared. It does 
not quit the body before there has originated a cognate 
being of similar functions, one of those which nature 
prepares either as an embryo in a mother's womb or as 
a seed in the bosom of the earth. Then the soul quits 
the body in which it has been staying. 

Others hold the more traditional view that the soul 
does not wait for such a thing, that it quits its shape 
on account of its weakness whilst another body has 
been prepared for it out of the elements. This body 
is called ativdhika, i.e. that vjltich ijrows in haste, because 
it does not come into existence by being born. The 
soul stays in this body a complete year in the greatest 
agony, no matter whether it has deserved to be rewarded 
or to be punished. This is like the Barzakh of the 
Persians, an intermediary stage between the periods of 
acting and earning and that of receiving award. For 
this reason the heir of the deceased must, according to 
Hindu use, fulfil the rites of the year for the deceased, 
duties which end with the end of the year, for then the 
soul goes to that place which is prepared for it. 

We shall now give some extracts from their litera- Quotations 
tare to illustrate these ideas. First from the Vishriu ^ivmu 
Purdna.^ ^ ' ^^^ 

" Maitreya asked Parasara about the purpose of hell Ich^i^'^ 
and the punishment in it, whereupon he answered : ' It 
is for distinguishing the good from the bad, knowledge 


Page 32. from ignorance, and for the manifestation of justice. 
But not every sinner enters hell. Some of them escape 
hell by previously doing works of repentance and ex- 
piation. The greatest expiation is uninterruptedly 
thinking of Vishnu in every action. Others wander 
about in plants, filthy insects and birds, and abominable 
dirty creeping things like lice and worms, for such a 
length of time as they desire it.' " 

In the book Sdmkhya we read : " He who deserves 
exaltation and reward will become like one of the 
augels, mixing with the hosts of spiritual beings, not 
being prevented from moving freely in the heavens 
and from living in the company of their inhabitants, 
or like one of the eight classes of spiritual beings. But 
he who deserves humiliation as recompense for sins 
and crimes will become an animal or a plant, and will 
wander about until he deserves a reward so as to be 
saved from punishment, or until he offers himself as 
expiation, flinging away the vehicle of the body, and 
thereby attaining salvation." 
Muslim A theosoph who inclines towards metempsychosis 

metempsy- ^^J^ * " ^he metcmpsychosis has four degrees : 

" I. The transferring, i.e. the procreation as limited 
to the human species, because it transfers existence 
from one individual to another ; the opposite of this is — 

"2. The transforming, which concerns men in parti- 
cular, since they are transformed into monkeys, pigs, 
and elephants. 

"3. A stable condition of existence, like the condition 
of the plants. This is worse than transferring, because 
it is a stable condition of life, remains as it is through 
all time, and lasts as long as the mountains. 

"4. The dispersing, the opposite of number 3, which 
applies to the plants that are plucked, and to animals 
immolated as sacrifice, because they vanish without 
leaving posterity." 

Abu-Yakub of Sijistan maintains in his book, called 
" The disclosing of that which is veiled," that the species 



are preserved ; that metempsychosis always proceeds in 
one and the same species, never crossing its limits and 
passing into another species. 

This was also the opinion of the ancient Greeks ; Quotations 

. p i~»i from Johan- 

for Joliannes Grammaticus relates as the view or Plato nes Gram- 
that the rational souls will be clad in the bodies of piato. 
animals, and that in this regard he followed the- fables 
of Pythagoras. 

Socrates says in the book Phceclo : " The body is 
earthy, ponderous, heavy, and the soul, which loves it, 
wanders about and is attracted towards the place, to 
which it looks from fear of the shapeless and of Hades, 
the gatheriog-place of the souls. They are soiled, and 
circle round the graves and cemeteries, where souls 
have been seen appearing in shadowy forms. This 
phantasmagoria only occurs to such souls as have not 
been entirely separated, in which there is still a part 
of that towards which the look is directed." 

Further he says : " It appears that these are not the 
souls of the good, but the souls of the wicked, which 
wander about in these things to make an expiation for 
the badness of their former kind of rearing. Thus they 
remain until they are again bound in a body on account 
of the desire for the bodily shape which has followed 
them. They will dwell in bodies the character of 
which is like the character which they had in the world. 
Whoso, e.g. only cares for eating and drinking will enter 
the various kinds of asses and wild animals ; and he 
who preferred wrong and oppression will enter the 
various kinds of wolves, and falcons, and hawks." 

Further he says about the gathering-places of the 
souls after death : "If I did not think that I am 
going first to gods who are wise, ruling, and good, Page 33. 
then afterwards to men, deceased ones, better than 
those here, I should be wrong not to be in sorrow about 

Further, Plato says about the two places of reward and 

VOL. I. E 


of punishment : " When a man dies, a claimon, i.e. one of 
the guardians of hell, leads him to the tribunal of judg- 
ment, and a guide whose special office it is brings him, to- 
gether with those assembled there, to Hades, and there he 
remains the necessary number of many and long cycles 
of time. Telephos says, ' The road of Hades is an 
even one.' I, however, say, ' If the I'oad were even or 
only a single one, a guide could be dispensed with.' 
Now that soul which longs for the body, or whose deeds 
were evil and not just, which resembles souls that have 
committed murder, flies from there and encloses itself in 
every species of being until certain times pass by. 
Thereupon it is brought by necessity to that place 
which is suitable to it. But the pure soul finds com- 
panions and guides, gods, and dwells in the places 
which are suitable to it." 

Further he says : " Those of the dead who led a 
middle sort of life travel on a vessel prepared for 
them over Acheron. After they have received punish- 
ment and have been purified from crime, they wash 
and receive honour for the good deeds which they 
did according to merit. Those, however, who had 
committed great sins, e.g. the stealing from the sacri- 
fices of the gods, robberies on a great scale, unjust 
killing, repeatedly and consciously violating the laws, 
are thrown into Tartarus, whence they will never be 
able to escape." 

Further : " Those who repented of their sins already 
during their lifetime, and whose crimes were of a some- 
what lower degree, who, e.g. committed some act of 
violence against their parents, or committed a murder by 
mistake, are thrown into Tartarus, being punished there 
for a whole year ; but then the wave throws them out to 
a place whence they cry to their antagonists, asking 
them to abstain from further retaliation, that they may 
be saved from the horrors of punishment. H those now 
agree, they are saved ; if not, they are sent back into 


Tartarus. And this, their punishment, goes on until 
their antagonists agree to their demands for being re- 
lieved. Those whose mode of life was virtuous are 
liberated from these places on this earth. They feel as 
though released from prison, and they will inhabit the 
pure earth." 

Tartarus is a huge deep ravine or gap into which the 
rivers flow. All people understand by the punishment 
of hell the most dreadful things which are known to 
them, and the Western countries, like Greece, have 
sometimes to suffer deluges and floods. But the de- 
scription of Plato indicates a place where there are 
glaring flames, and it seems that he means the sea or 
some part of the ocean, in which there is a whirlpool 
{dtordilr, a pun upon Tartarus). No doubt these de- 
scriptions represent the belief of the men of those 

( 68 ) 



First part : 
Moksha in 

Page 34. 

Moksha ac- 
cording to 

If the soul is bound up with the world, and its being 
bound up has a certain cause, it cannot be liberated 
from this bond save by the opposite of this identical 
cause. Now according to the Hindus, as we have 
already explained (p. 55), the reason of the bond is 
ignorance, and therefore it can only be liberated by 
knowledge, by comprehending all things in such a way 
as to define them both in general and in particular, 
rendering superfluous any kind of deduction and re- 
moving all doubts. I For the soul distinguishing between 
things (ra oVra) by means of definitions, recognises its 
own self, and recognises at the same time that it is its 
noble lot to last for ever, and that it is the vulgar lot of 
matter to change and to perish in all kinds of shapes. J 
Then it dispenses with matter, and perceives that that 
which it held to be good and delightful is in reality 
bad and painful. \ In this manner it attains real know- 
ledge and turns away from being arrayed in matter. 
Thereby action ceases, and both matter and soul become 
free by separating from each other. 

The author of the book of Patanjali says : " The con- 
centration of thought on the unity of God induces man 
to notice something besides that with which he is 
occupied. He who wants God, wants the good for the 
whole creation without a single exception for any reason 
whatever ; but he who occupies himself exclusively with 


his own self, will for its benefit neither inhale, breathe, 
nor exhale it [svclsa and ^j?'a5msft). When a man 
attains to this degree, his spiritual power prevails over 
his bodily power, and then he is gifted with the faculty 
of doing eight different things by which detachment is 
realised ;7for a man can only dispense with that which 
he is aMe to do, not with that which is outside his 
grasp. These eight things are : — 

" I. The faculty in man of making his body so thin 
that it becomes invisible to the eyes. 

" 2. The faculty of making the body so light that it is 
indifferent to him whether he treads on thorns or mud 
or sand. 

"3. The faculty of making his body so big that it 
appears in a terrifying miraculous shape. 

" 4. The faculty of realising every wish. 

" 5. The faculty of knowing whatever he wishes. 

" 6. The faculty of becoming the ruler of whatever 
religious community he desires. 

*' 7. That those over whom he rules are humble and 
obedient to him. 

" 8. That all distances between a man and any far- 
away place vanish." 

The terms of the Sufi as to the hioiuing being and sufi 
his attaining the stage of hioidcdgc come to the same ^'^^^ 
effect, for the}^ maintain that he has two souls — an 
eternal one, not exposed to change and alteration, by 
which he knows that which is hidden, the trans- 
cendental world, and performs wonders! and another, 
a human soul, which is liable to being changed and being 
born. i'From these and similar views the doctrines of f/ 
the Christians do not much differ. 

The Hindus say : " If a man has the faculty to per- Thediffer- 
form these things, he can dispense with them, and will o?know-^^^ 
reach the goal by degrees, passing through several accOTdiugto 
stages :— ^"'"'^^'^■• 

" I. The knowledge of things as to their names and 


qualities and distinctions, which, however, does not yet 
afford the knowledge of definitions. 

" 2. Such a knowledge of things as proceeds as far as 
the definitions by which particulars are classed under 
the category of universals, but regarding which a man 
must still practise distinction. 

"3. This distinction (viveht) disappears, and man 
comprehends things at once as a whole, but within 

" 4. This kind of knowledge is raised above time, and 
he who has it can dispense with names and epithets, 
which are only instruments of human imperfection. 
In this stage the intellectus and the intelligens unite 
with the intellcctum, so as to be one and the same 

This is what Pataiijali says about the knowledge 
which liberates the soul. In Sanskrit they call its 
liberation Moksha — i.e. tlie end. By the same term 
they call the last contact of the eclipsed and eclipsing 
bodies, or their separation in both lunar and solar 
eclipses, because it is the end of the eclipse, the moment 
when the two luminaries which were in contact with 
Page 35- each other separate. 

According to the Hindus, the organs of the senses 
have been made for acquiring knowledge, and the plea- 
sure which they afford has been created to stimulate 
people to research and investigation, as the pleasure 
which eating and drinking afford to the taste has been 
created to preserve the individual by means of nourish- 
ment. So the pleasure of coitus serves to preserve the 
species by giving birth to new individuals. If there 
were not special pleasure in these two functions, man 
and animals would not practise them for these pur- 
On know- In the book Gitd we read: "Man is created for the 

cmdhig'to purpose of knowing ; and because knowing is always 
&!?d.^""" the same, man has been gifted with the same organs. 


If man were created for the purpose of acting, his 
organs would be different, as actions are different in 
consequence of the difference of the three primary forces. 
However, bodily nature is bent upon acting on account 
of its essential opposition to hnoioing. Besides, it 
wishes to invest action with pleasures which in reality 
are pains. But knowledge is such as to leave this 
nature behind itself prostrated on the earth like an 
opponent, and removes all darkness from the soul as 
an eclipse or clouds are removed from the sun." 

This resembles the opinion of Socrates, who thinks Quotation 

-. . . 1 1 1 n T • 1 • 1 ^^'^^ Plato's 

that the soul " being with the body, and wishing to Phado. 
inquire into something, then is deceived by the body. 
But by cogitations something of its desires becomes 
clear to it. Therefore, its cogitation takes place in that 
time when it is not disturbed by anything like hearing, 
seeing, or by any pain or pleasure, when it is quite by 
itself, and has as much as possible quitted the body 
and its companionship. In particular, the soul of the 
philosopher scorns the body, and wishes to be separate 
from it." 

" If we in this our life did not make use of the body, 
nor had anything in common with it except in cases of 
necessity, if we were not inoculated with its nature, 
but were perfectly free from it, we should come near 
knowledge by getting rest from the ignorance of the 
body, and we should become pure by knowing our- 
selves as far as God would permit us. And it is only 
right to acknowledge that this is the truth." 

Now we return and continue our quotation from the The process 

T_ 1 n^j. ^ of know- 

book (jTlta. ledge ac- 

" Likewise the other organs of the senses serve for ^T^dS'' 
acquiring knowledge. The knowing p>erson rejoices in souSe;'^ 
turning them to and fro on the field of knowledge, so 
that they are his spies. The apprenhension of the senses 
is different according to time. The senses which serve 
the heart perceive only that which is present. The 


heart reflects over that which is present and remembers 
also the past. The nature takes hold of the present, 
claims it for itself in the past, and prepares to wrestle 
with it in future. The reason understands the nature 
of a thing, no regard being had of time or date, since 
past and future are the same for it. Its nearest helpers 
are rcjiection and nature ; the most distant are the five 
senses. When the senses bring before reflection some 
particular object of knowledge, reflection cleans it from 
the errors of the functions of the senses, and hands it 
over to reason. Thereupon reason makes universal 
what was before particular, and communicates it to the 
soul. Thus the soul comes to know it." 

Further, the Hindus think that a man becomes know- 
ing in one of three ways : — 

1. V»y being inspired, not in a certain course of time, 
but at once, at birth, and in the cradle, as, e.g. the sage 
Kapila, for he was born knowing and wise. 

2. By being inspired after a certain time, like the 
children of Brahman, for they were inspired when they 
came of age. 

3. By learning, and after a certain course of time, 
like all men who learn when their mind ripens. 

Page 36 Liberation through knowledge can only be obtained 

wratif *JAd ^y abstaining from evil. The branches of evil are many, 

Se the chief ^^^ ^® ^^^1 classify them as cupidity, wrath, and ignor- 

Mokshr*° a7ice. If the roots are cut the branches will wither. 

And here we have first to consider the rule of the two 

forces of cupidity and wrath, which are the greatest and 

most pernicious enemies of man, deluding him by the 

pleasure of eating and the delight of revenge, whilst in 

reality they are much more likely to lead him into 

pains and crimes. They make a man similar to the 

wild beasts and the cattle, nay, even to the demons and 


Next we have to consider that man must prefer the 
reasoning force of mind, by which he becomes similar 


to the highest angels, to the forces of cupidity and 
wrath ; and, lastly, that he must turn away from the 
actions of the world. He cannot, however, give up these 
actions unless he does away with their causes, which 
are his lust and ambition. Thereby the second of the 
three i^rimary forces is cut away. However, the abstain- 
ing /ro«^ action takes place in two different ways : — 

1. By laziness, procrastination, and ignorance accord- 
ing to the third force. This mode is not desirable, for 
it will lead to a blamable end. 

2. By judicious selection and by preferring that which 
is better to that which is good, which way leads to a 
laudable end. 

The abstaining from actions is rendered perfect in this 
way, that a man quits anything that might occuj^y him 
and shuts himself up against it. Thereby he will be 
enabled to restrain his senses from extraneous objects 
to such a degree that he does not any more know that 
there exists anything besides himself, and be enabled 
to stop all motions, and even the breathing. It is 
evident that a greedy man strains to effect his object, 
the man who strains becomes tired, and the tired man 
pants ; so the panting is the result of greediness. If 
this greediness is removed, the breathing becomes like 
the breathing of a being living at the bottom of the sea, 
that does not want breath ; and then the heart quietly 
rests on one thing, viz. the search for liberation and 
for arriving at the absolute unity. 

In the book Gitd we read : " How is a man to ob- Further 


tain liberation who disperses his heart and does not fiom GUa. 
concentrate it alone upon God, who does not exclu- 
sively direct his action towards him ? But if a man 
turns away his cogitation from all other things and 
concentrates it upon the One, the light of his heart will 
be steady like the light of a lamp filled with clean oil, 
standing in a corner where no wind makes it flicker, 
and he will be occupied in such a degree as not to 


perceive anything that gives j^ain, like heat or cold, 
knowing that everything besides the One, the Truth, 
is a vain phantom." 

In the same book we read : " Pain and pleasure have 
no effect on the real world, jnst as the coutinnons flow 
of the streams to the ocean does not affect its water. 
How could anybody ascend this mountain pass save him 
who has conquered cv/piclity and lurath and rendered 
them inert? " 

On account of w^iat we have explained it is necessary 
that cogitation should be continuous, not in any way 
to be defined by number ; for a number always de- 
notes TeiJeated times, and repeated times ^^resuppose a 
break in the cogitation occurring between two consecu- 
tive times. This would interrupt the continuity, and 
would prevent cogitation becoming united with the 
object of cogitation. And this is not the object kept 
in view, which is, on the contrary, the co7iti7iuity of 

This goal is attained either in a single shape, i.e. a 
single stage of metempsychosis, or in several shapes, 
in this way, that a man perpetually practises virtuous 
behaviour and accustoms the soul thereto, so that this 
virtuous behaviour becomes to it a nature and an 
essential quality. 

Virtuous behaviour is that which is described by 
The nine the religious law. Its principal laws, from which they 

eonunand- , . -, , i • j i 

nients of derive many secondary ones, may be summed up in the 

the Hindu f n • "• ^ 

religion. lollowing nine rules : — 

1. A man shall not kill. 

2. Nor lie. 

3. Nor steal. 

4. Nor whore. 

Pi'ges?. 5. Nor hoard up treasures. 

6. He is perpetually to practise holiness and purity. 

7. He is to perform the prescribed fasting without 
an interruption and to dress poorly. 


8. He is to hold fast to the adoration of God with 
praise and thanks. 

9. He is always to have in mind the word 6m, the 
word of creation, without pronouncing it. 

The injunction to abstain from killing as regards 
animals (No. i) is only a special part of the general 
order to ahstain from doing anything Iturt/al. Under 
this head falls also the robbing of another man's goods 
(No. 3), and the telling lies (No, 2), not to mention the 
foulness and baseness of so doing. 

The abstaining from hoarding up (No. 5) means that 
a man is to give up toil and fatigue ; that he who seeks 
the bounty of God feels sure that he is provided for ; 
and that, starting from the base slaver}^ of material life, 
we may, by the noble liberty of cogitation, attain eternal 

Practising purity (No. 6) implies that a man knows the 
filth of the body, and that he feels called upon to hate 
it, and to love cleanness of soul. Tormenting oneself 
by poor dress (No. 7) means that a man should reduce 
the body, allay its feverish desires, and sharpen its senses. 
Pythagoras once said to a man who took great care to 
keep his body in a flourishing condition and to allow it 
everything it desired, "Thou art not lazy in building 
thy prison and making thy fetter as strong as possible." 

The holding fast to meditation on God and the angels 
means a kind of familiar intercourse with them. The 
book Sdrhhhya says : " Man cannot go beyond anything 
in the wake of which he marches, it being a scope 
to him {i.e. thus engrossing his thoughts and detaining 
liim from meditation on God)." The book Gitcl says : 
" All that which is the object of a man's continuous 
meditating and bearing in mind is stamped upon him, 
so that he even unconsciously is guided by it. Since, 
now, the time of heath is the time of remembering what 
we love, the soul on leaving the body is united with 
that object which we love, and is changed into it." 



from ClUd. 

and Sufi 

part: The 
path leading 
to Moksha 

However, the reader must not believe that it is only 
the union of the soul with any forms of life that perish 
and return into existence that is perfect liberation, for the 
same book, Gitd, says : "He who knows when dying that 
God is everything, and that from him everything pro- 
ceeds, is liberated, though his degree be lower than that 
of the saints." 

The same book says : " Seek deliverance from this 
world by abstaining from any connection with its follies, 
by having sincere intentions in all actions and when 
making offerings by fire to God, without any desire for 
reward and recompense ; further, by keeping aloof from 
mankind." The real meaning of all this is that you 
should not prefer one because he is your friend to 
another because he is your enemy, and that you should 
beware of negligence in sleeping when others are awake, 
and in waking when others are asleep ; for this, too, is 
a kind of being absent from them, though outwardl}^ 
you are present with them. Further : Seek deliverance 
by guarding soul from soul, for the soul is an enemy if 
it be addicted to lusts ; but what an excellent friend 
it is when it is chaste ! " 

Socrates, caring little for his impending death and 
being glad at the prospect of coming to his Lord, said : 
" My degree must not be considered by any one of you 
lower than that of the swan," of which people say that 
it is the bird of Apollo, the sun, and that it therefore 
knows what is hidden ; that is, when feeling that it will 
soon die, sings more and more melodies from joy at the 
prospect of coming to its Lord. " At least my joy at my 
prospect of coming to the object of my adoration must 
not be less than the joy of this bird." 

For similar reasons the Sufi define love as being en- 
grossed by the creature to the exclusion of God. 

In the book of Fatanjali we read : " We divide the 
path of liberation into three parts : — 

'' I. The practical one {kriyd-yogct), a process of habitu- 


ating the senses in a gentle way to detach themselves according to 
from the external world, and to concentrate themselves vishnu- 
upon the internal one, so that they exclusively occupy aud Guk 
themselves with God. This is in general the path of 
him who does not desire anything save what is sufficient Page 38. 
to sustain life." 

In the book Vishnu- Dhar ma we read : " The king 
Pariksha, of the family of Bhrigu, asked Satanika, the 
head of an assembly of sages, who stayed with him, for 
the explanation of some notion regarding the deity, and 
by way of answer the sage communicated what he had 
heard from Saunaka, Saunaka from Usanas, and Usanas 
from Brahman, as follows : ' God is without first and 
without last ; he has not been born from anything, and 
he has not borne anything save that of which it is im- 
possible to say that it is He, and just as impossible to 
say that it is Not-he. How should I be able to ponder 
on the absolute good which is an outflow of his benevo- 
lence, aud of the absolute bad which is a product of his 
wrath ; and how con Id I know him so as to worship him 
as is his due, save by turning away from the world in 
general and by occupying myself exclusively with him, 
by perpetually cogitating on him ? ' 

'' It was objected to him : ' Man is weak and his life 
is a trifling matter. He can hardly bring himself to 
abstain from the necessities of life, and this prevents 
him from walking on the path of liberation. If we 
were living in the first age of mankind, when life 
extended to thousands of years, and when the world 
was good because of the non-existence of evil, we might 
hope that that which is necessary on this path should 
be done. But since we live in the last age, what, 
according to your opinion, is there in this revolving 
world that might protect him against the floods of the 
ocean and save him from drowning ? ' 

" Thereupon Brahman spoke : ' Man wants nourish- 
ment, shelter, and clothing. Therefore in them there 


is no harm to him. But happiness is only to be found 
in abstaining from things besides them, from superfluous 
and fatiguing actions. Worship God, him alone, and 
venerate him ; approach him in the place of worship 
with presents like perfumes and flowers ; praise him 
and attach your heart to him so that it never leaves 
him. Give alms to the Brahmans and to others, and 
vow to God vows — special ones, like the abstaining 
from meat ; general ones, like fasting. Vow to him ani- 
mals which you must not hold to be something different 
from yourselves, so as to feel entitled to kill them. 
Know that he is everything. Therefore, whatever you 
do, let it be for his sake ; and if you enjoy anything of 
the vanities of the world, do not forget him in your 
intentions. If you aim at the fear of God and the 
faculty of worshippi*ng him, thereby you will obtain 
liberation, not by anything else.' " 

The book Gitd says : " He who mortifies his lust does 
not go beyond the necessary wants ; and he who is 
content with that which is sufficient for the sustaining 
of life will not be ashamed nor be despised." 

The same book says : "If man is not without wants 
as regards the demands of human nature, if he wants 
nourishment to appease thereby the heat of hunger and 
exhaustion, sleep in order to meet the injurious influ- 
ences of fatiguing motions and a couch to rest upon, 
let the latter be clean and smooth, everywhere equally 
high above the ground and sufficiently large that he 
may stretch out his body upon it. Let him have a 
place of temperate climate, not hurtful by cold nor by 
heat, and where he is safe against the approach of 
reptiles. All this helps him to sharpen the functions 
of his heart, that he may without any interruption con- 
centrate his cogitation on the unity. For all things 
besides the necessities of life in the way of eating and 
clothing are pleasures of a kind which, in reality, are 
disguised pains. To acquiesce in them is impossible, 


and would end in the gravest inconvenience. There is 
pleasure only to him who kills the two intolerable 
enemies, lust and wrath, already during his life and not rage 39. 
when he dies, who derives his rest and bliss from within, 
not from without ; and who, in the final result, is able 
altogether to dispense with his senses." 

Vasudeva spoke to Arjuna : " If you want the abso- 
lute good, take care of the nine doors of thy body, 
and know what is going in and out through them. 
Constrain thy heart from dispersing its thoughts, and 
quiet thy soul by thinking of the upper membrane of 
the child's brain, which is first soft, and then is closed 
and becomes strong, so that it would seem that there 
were no more need of it. Do not take perception of 
the senses for anything but the nature immanent in 
their organs, and therefore beware of following it." 

II. The second part of the path of liberation is The path of 
renunciation (the via omissionis), based on the know- tk.n as tiie 
ledge of the evil which exists in the changing things of ortiie'path 

T , , . • 1 • 1 T ^^f liberation 

creation and their vanishing shapes, in consequence according to 
the heart shuns them, the longing for them ceases, and 
a man is raised above the three primary forces which are 
the cause of actions and of their diversity. For he who 
accurately understands the affairs of the world knows 
that the good ones among them are evil in reality, and 
that the bliss which they afford changes in the course 
of recompense into pains. Therefore he avoids every- 
thing which might aggravate his condition of being- 
entangled in the world, and which might result in 
making him stay in the world for a still longer period. 

'Jlie book Gitd says : " Men err in what is ordered 
and what is forbidden. They do not know how to dis- 
tinguish between good and evil in actions. Therefore, 
giving up acting altogether and keeping aloof from it, 
this is the action." 

The same book says : " The purity of knowledge is 
high above the purity of all other things, for by know- 


ledge ignorance is rooted out and certainty is gained in 
exchange for donbt, which is a means of torture, for 
there is no rest for him who doubts." 

It is evident from this that the first part of the path 

of liberation is instrumental to the second one. 

Worship as III. The third part of the path of liberation which is 

part of the to be coHsidcred as instrumental to the preceding two 

liberation is vjoTslivp, for this purposB, that God should help a man 

eS! ^"° ^ to obtain liberation, and deign to consider him worthy 

of such a shape of existence in the metempsychosis in 

which he may effect his progress towards beatitude. 

The author of the book Gitd distributes the duties of 
worship among the hody, the voice, and the heart. 

What the body has to do is fasting, prayer, the fulfil- 
ment of the law, the service towards the angels and the 
sages among the Brahmans, keeping clean the body, 
keeping aloof from killing under all circumstances, and 
never looking at another man's wife and other property. 
What the voice has to do is the reciting of the holy 
texts, praising God, always to speak the truth, to 
address people mildly, to guide them, and to order 
them to do good. 

What the heart has to do is to have straight, honest 
intentions, to avoid haughtiness, always to be patient, 
to keep your senses under control, and to have a cheer- 
ful mind. 
On Rasa- The author (Patafijali) adds to the three parts of the 

pathioading path of liberation a fourth one of an illusory nature, 
called Rasdyana, consisting of alchemistic tricks with 
various drugs, intended to realise things which by nature 
are impossible. We shall speak of these things after- 
wards {vide chap. xvii.). They have no other relation to 
the theory of Moksha but this, that also in the tricks of 
Easayana everything depends upon the intention, the 
well-understood determination to carry them out, this 
determination resting on the firm belief in them, and 
resulting in the endeavour to realise them. 


According to the Hindus, liberation is union with onthc 
God ; for they describe God as a being who can dis- Moksha 
pense with hoping for a recompense or with fearing 
opposition, unattainable to thought, because he is sub- 
lime beyond all unlikeness which is abhorrent and all 
likeness which is sympathetic, knowing himself not by 
a knowledge which comes to him like an accident, re- 
garding something which had not in every phase before 
been known to him. And this same description the 
Hindus apply to the liherated one, for he is equal to God 
in all these things except in the matter of beginning, 
since he has not existed from all eternity, and except 
this, that before liberation he existed in the ivorld of 
entanglement, knowing the objects of knowledge only 
by a phantasmagoric kind of knowing which he had 
acquired by absolute exertion, whilst the object of his 
knowing is still covered, as it were, by a veil. On the rage 40. 
contrary, in the world of liberation all veils are lifted, 
all covers taken off, and obstacles removed. There the 
being is absolutely knowing, not desirous of learning 
anything unknown, separated from the soiled percep- 
tions of the senses, united with the everlasting ideas. 
Therefore in the end of the book of Patanjali, after the Quotations^ 
pupil has asked about the nature of liberation, the jaii. 
master says: "If you wish, say, Liberation is the 
cessation of the functions of the three forces, and their 
returning to that home whence they had come. Or if 
you wish, say, It is the return of the soul as a knovnng 
being into its own nature." 

The two men, pupil and master, disagree regarding 
him who has arrived at the stage of liberation. The 
anchorite asks in the book of Saiiikhya, " Why does From 
not death take place when aetion ceases ? " The sage "'" ^'^' 
replies, " Because the cause of the separation is a 
certain condition of the soul whilst the spirit is still 
in the body. Soul and body are separated by a natural 
condition which severs their union. Frequently when 

VOL. I. F 

Fiom Pa 


the cause of au effect has ah-eady ceased or disappeared, 
the effect itself still goes on for a certain time, slacken- 
ing, and by and by decreasing, till in the end it ceases 
totally ; e.g. the silk-weaver drives round his wheel with 
his mallet until it whirls round rapidly, then he leaves 
it ; however, it does not stand still, though the mallet 
that drove it round has been removed ; the motion of 
the wheel decreases by little and little, and finally it 
ceases. It is the same case with the body. After the 
action of the body has ceased, its effect is still lasting 
until it arrives, through the various stages of motion 
and of rest, at the cessation of physical force and of the 
effect which had originated from preceding causes. 
Thus liberation is finished when the body has been 
completely prostrated." 

In the book of Patanjali there is a passage which 
expresses similar ideas. Speaking of a man who re- 
strains his senses and organs of perception, as the turtle 
draws in its limbs when it is afraid, he says that " he 
is not fettered, because the fetter has been loosened, 
and he is not liberated, because his body is still with 

There is, however, another passage in the same book 
which does not agree with the theory of liberation as 
expounded above. He says : " The bodies are the snares 
of the souls for the purpose of acquiring recompense. 
He who arrives at the stage of liberation has acquired, 
in his actual form of existence, the recompense for all 
the doings of the past. Then he ceases to labour to 
acquire a title to a recompense in the future. He frees 
himself from the snare ; he can dispense with the parti- 
cular form of his existence, and moves in it quite freely 
without being ensnared by it. He has even the faculty 
of moving wherever he likes, and if he like, he might 
rise above the face of death. For the thick, cohesive 
bodies cannot oppose an obstacle to his form of exist- 
ence (as, e.g. a mountain could not prevent him from 


passing through). How, theo, could his body oppose an 
obstacle to his soul ? " 

Similar views are also met with amonor the Sufi, sufipa- 

■ rallels. 

Some Sufi author relates the following story : "A com- 
pany of Sufi came down unto us, and sat down at some 
distance from us. Then one of them rose, prayed, and 
on having finished his prayer, turned towards me and 
spoke : ' master, do you know here a place fit for us 
to die on ? ' Now I thought he meant sleepinrj, and so I 
pointed out to him a place. The man went there, threw 
himself on the back of his head, and remained motion- 
less. Now I rose, went to him and shook him, but lo ! 
he was already cold." 

The Sufi explains the Koranic verse, " We have 
made room for him on earth" (Sura 18, 83), in this rage 41. 
way : " If he wishes, the earth rolls itself up for 
him ; if he wishes, he can walk on the water and in 
the air, which offer him sufficient resistance so as to 
enable him to walk, whilst the mountains do not offer 
him any resistance when he wants to pass through 

We next speak of those who, notwithstanding their ou those 
greatest exertions, do not reach the stage of liberation, leich 
There are several classes of them. The book Sdrhkhya according to 
says : " He who enters upon the world with a virtuous ^ "" ^"' 
character, who is liberal with what he possesses of the 
goods of the world, is recompensed in it in this way, 
that he obtains the fulfilment of his wishes and desires, 
that he moves about in the world in happiness, happy 
in body and soul and in all other conditions of life. For 
in reality good fortune is a recompense for former deeds, 
done either in the same shape or in some preceding 
shape. Whoso lives in this world piously but without 
knowledge will be raised and be rewarded, but not be 
liberated, because the means of attaining it are want- 
ing in his case. Whoso is content and acquiesces 
in possessing the faculty of practising the above-men- 



A parable 



in the 


degrees of 


tioned eight commandments {sic, vide p. 74), whoso 
glories in them, is successful by means of them, and 
believes that they are liberation, will remain in the 
same stage." 

The following is a parable characterising those who 
vie with each other in the progress through the various 
stages of knowledge : — A man is travelling together 
with his pupils for some business or other towards the 
end of the night. Then there appears something stand- 
ing erect before them on the road, the nature of which 
it is impossible to recognise on account of the darkness 
of night. The man turns towards his pupils, and asks 
them, one after the other, what it is ? The first says : 
" I do not know what it is." The second says : " I do 
not know, and I have no means of learning what it is." 
The third says: "It is useless to examine what it is, 
for the rising of the day will reveal it. If it is some- 
thing terrible, it will disappear at daybreak ; if it is 
something else, the nature of the thing will anyhow be 
clear to us." Now, none of them had attained to know- 
ledge, the first, because he was ignorant ; the second, 
because he was incapable, and had no means of know- 
ing ; the third, because he was indolent and acquiesced 
in his ignorance. 

The fourth pupil, however, did not give an answer. 
He stood still, and then he went on in the direction of 
the object. On coming near, he found that it was pump- 
kins on which there lay a tangled mass of something. 
Now he knew that a living man, endowed with free 
will, does not stand still in his place until such a 
tangled mass is formed on his head, and he recognised 
at once that it was a lifeless object standing erect. 
Further, he could not be sure if it was not a hidden 
place for some dunghill. So he went quite close to it, 
struck against it with his foot till it fell to the ground. 
Thus all doubt having been removed, he returned to 
his master and gave him the exact account. In such a 


way the master obtained the knowledge through the 
intermediation of his pupils. 

With regard to similar views of the ancient Greeks Parallels 
we can quote Ammonius, who relates the following as a authors, 
sentence of Pythagoras : " Let your desire and exertion piato, and' 
in this world be directed towards the union with the First 
Cause, which is the cause of the cause of your existence, 
that you may endure for ever. You will be saved from 
destruction and from being wiped out ; you will go to 
the world of the true sense, of the true joy, of the true 
glory, in everlasting joy and pleasures." 

Further, Pythagoras says : " How can you hope for 
the state of detachment as long as you are clad in 
bodies ? And how will you obtain liberation as long as 
you are incarcerated in them ? " 

Ammonius relates : " Empedocles and his successors 
as far as Heracles (sic) think that the soiled souls always 
remain commingled with the world until they ask the 
universal soul for help. The universal soul intercedes Page 42. 
for it with the Tntellujenee, the latter with the Creator. 
TheCreatoraffordssomethingof his light to Intelligence; 
Intelligence affords something of it to the universal soul, 
which is immanent in this world. Now the soul wishes 
to be enlightened by Intelligence, until at last the 
individual soul recognises the universal soul, unites 
with it, and is attached to its world. But this is a pro- 
cess over which many ages must pass. Then the soul 
comes to a region where there is neither place nor time, 
nor anything of that which is in the world, like transient 
fatigue or joy." 

Socrates says : "The soul on leaving space wanders 
to the holiness {to KaOapov) which lives for ever and 
exists eternally, being related to it. It becomes like 
holiness in duration, because it is by means of something 
like contact able to receive impressions from holiness. 
This, its susceptibility to impressions, is called Intelli- 


Further, Socrates says : ''The soul is very similar to 
the divine substance which does not die nor dissolve, 
and is the only intelligihile which lasts for ever ; the 
body is the contrary of it. When soul and body unite, 
nature orders body to serve, the soul to rule ; but when 
they separate, the soul goes to another place than that 
to which the body goes. There it is happy with things 
that are suitable to it ; it reposes from being circum- 
scribed in space, rests from folly, impatience, love, fear, 
and other human evils, on this condition, that it had 
always been pure and hated the body. If, however, it 
has sullied itself by connivance with the body, by 
serving and loving it so that the body was subservient 
to its lusts and desires, in this case it does not ex- 
perience fmything more real than the species of bodily 
things (to crto/y.aroetSes) and the contact with them." 

Proclus says : " The body in which the rational soul 
dwells has received the figure of a globe, like the ether 
and its individual beings. The body in which both the 
rational and the irrational souls dwell has received an 
erect figure like man. The body in which only the 
irrational soul dwells has received a figure erect and 
curved at the same time, like that of the irrational 
animals. The body in which there is neither the one 
nor the other, in which there is nothing but the nourish- 
ing power, has received an erect figure, but it is at the 
same time curved and turned upside down, so that the 
head is planted in the earth, as is the case with the 
plants. The latter direction being the contrary to that 
of man, man is a heavenly tree, the root of which is 
directed towards its home, i.e. heaven, whilst the root 
of vegetables is directed towards their home, i.e. the 
Brahman The Hindus hold similar views about nature. Ar- 

an A.?vattiia j una asks, "What is Brahman like in the world?" 
ing'^to'pa- Whereupon Vasudeva answers, "Imagine him like an 
ianjai. Asvctttlia tree." This is a huge precious tree, well 


known among them, standing upside down, the roots 
being above, the branches below. If it has ample 
nourishment, it becomes quite enormous ; the branches 
spread far, cling to the soil, and creep into it. Roots 
and branches above and below resemble each other to 
such a degree that it is difficult to say which is which. 

" Brahman is the upper roots of this tree, its trunk is 
the Veda, its branches are the different doctrines and 
schools, its leaves are the different modes of inter- 
pretation ; its nourishment comes from the three forces ; 
the tree becomes strong and compact through the senses. 
The intelligent being has no other keen desire but that vage 43. 
of felling this tree, i.e. abstaining from the world and 
its vanities. When he has succeeded in felling it, he 
wishes to settle in the place where it has grown, a 
place in w^hich there is no returning in a further stage 
of metempsychosis. When he obtains this, he leaves 
behind himself all the pains of heat and cold, and 
coming from the light of sun and moon and common 
fires, he attains to the divine lights." 

The doctrine of Fatanjali is akin to that of the suftparai- 

. . . . I'els. 

Sufi regarding being occupied in meditation on the 
Truth (i.e. God), for they say, "As long as you point 
to something, you are not a monist ; but when the 
Truth seizes upon the object of your pointing and 
annihilates it, then there is no longer an indicating 
person nor an object indicated." 

There are some passages in their system which show 
that they believe in the pantheistic union ; e.g. one of 
them, being asked what is the Truth (God), gave the 
following answer : " How should I not know the being 
which is / in essence and Not-I in space ? If I return 
once more into existence, thereby I am separated from 
him ; and if I am neglected {i.e. not born anew and 
sent into the world), thereby I become light and be- 
come accustomed to the union" (sic). 

Abu-Bekr Ash-shibli says: "Cast off all, and you 


will attaiu to us completely. Then you will exist ; but 
you will not report about us to others as long as your 
doing is like ours." 

Abu-Yazid Albistami once being asked how he had 
attained his stage in Sufism, answered : ''I cast off roy 
own self as a serpent casts oft' its skin. Then I con- 
sidered my own self, and found that / was He," i.e. 

The Sufi explain the Koranic passage (Sura 2, 68), 
" The7i ive spoke: Beat him with a part of her," in the 
following manner : " The order to kill that which is 
dead in order to give life to it indicates that the heart 
does not become alive by the lights of knowledge 
unless the body be killed by ascetic practice to such 
a degree that it does not any more exist as a reality, 
but only in a formal way, whilst your heart is a reality 
on which no object of the formal world has any in- 

Further they say : " Between man and God there 
are a thousand stages of light and darkness. Men exert 
themselves to pass through darkness to light, and 
when they have attained to the stations of light, there 
is no return for them." 



The subject of this chapter is very difficult to study and The various 
iniderstaDd accurately, since we Muslims look at it from creatures 
without, and the Hindus themselves do not work it out s>hhi-hya. 
to scientific perfection. As we, however, want it for 
the further j^rogress of this treatise, w^e shall communi- 
cate all we have heard of it until the date of the present 
book. And first we give an extract from the book 

" The anchorite spoke : ' How many classes and species 
are there of living bodies ? ' 

" The sage replied : ' There are three classes of them — 
the spiritual ones in the height, men in the middle, and 
animals in the depth. Their species are fourteen in 
number, eight of which belong to the spiritual beings : 
Brahman, Indra, Prajapati, Saumya, Gandharva, Yak- 
sha, Rakshasa, and Pisaca. Five species are those of 
the animals — cattle, wild beasts, birds, creeping things, 
and growing tilings, i.e. the trees. And, Lastly, one 
species is represented by man.' " 

The author of the same book has in another part of 
it given the following enumerationwith different names : 
"Brahman, Indra, Prajapati, Gandharva, Yaksha, Pak- 
shasa, Pitaras, Pisaca." 

The Hindus are people who rarely preserve one and 
the same order of things, and in their enumeration of 
things there is much that is arbitrary. They use or 


invent numbers of names, and who is to hinder or to 
control them ? 

In the book Gitct, Vasudeva says : " When the^7's^ of 
Page 44. the three "primary forces prevails, it particularly applies 
itself to developing the intellect, purifying the senses, 
and producing action for the angels. Blissful rest is one 
of the consequences of this force, and liberation one of 
its results. 

" When the second force prevails, it particularly ap- 
plies itself to developing cupidity. It will lead to 
fatigue, and induce to actions for the Yaksha and R;lk- 
shasa. In this case the recompense will be according 
to the action. 

" If the third force prevails, it particularly applies 
itself to developing ignorance, and making people easily 
beguiled by their own wishes. Finally, it produces 
wakefulness, carelessness, laziness, procrastination in 
fulfilling duties, and sleeping too long. If man acts, he 
acts for the classes of the Bhfita and Pisaca, the devils, 
for the Preta who carry the spirits in the air, not in 
paradise and not in hell. Lastly, this force will lead 
to punishment; man will be lowered from the stage 
of humanity, and will be changed into animals and 

In another place the same author says : " Belief and 

virtue are in the Deva among the spiritual beings. 

Therefore that man who resembles them believes in 

God, clings to him, and longs for him. Unbelief and 

vice are in the demons called Asura and Rjikshasa. 

That man whe resembles them does not believe in God 

nor attend to his commandments. He tries to make 

the world godless, and is occupied with things which 

are harmful in this world and in the world beyond, and 

are of no use." 

The author If WO uow combinc theso statements with each other, 

eight classes it wiU be evident that there is some confusion both in 

befngs! "^ the names and in their order. According to the most 


popular view of the majority of the Hindus, there are 
the following eight classes of sjnritual beings : — 

1. The Deva, or angels, to whom the north belongs. 
They specially belong to the Hindus. People say that 
Zoroaster made enemies of the Shamaniyya or Bud- 
dhists by calling the devils by the name of the class of 
angels which thei/ consider the highest, i.e. Dcva. And 
this usage has been transmitted from Magian times 
down to the Persian language of our days. 

2. Daitya 'ddnava, the demons who live in the 
south. To them everybody belongs who opposes the 
religion of the Hindus and persecutes the cows. Not- 
withstanding the near relationship which exists between 
them and the Deva, there is, as Hindus maintain, no 
end of quarrelling and fighting among them. 

3. Gandharva, the musicians and singers who make 
music before the Deva. Their harlots are called Ap- 

4. Yaksha, the treasurers or guardians of the Deva. 

5. Rdkshasa, demons of ugly and deformed shapes. 

6. Kimiara, having human shapes but horses' heads, 
being the contrary of the centaurs of the Greek, of 
whom the lower half has the shape of a horse, the upper 
half that of a man. The latter figure is that of the 
Zodiacal sign of Arcitenens. 

7. Ndga, beings in the shape of serpents. 

8. Vidyddhara, demon-sorcerers, who exercise a 
certain witchcraft, but not such a one as to produce 
permanent results. 

If we consider this series of beings, we find the criticisms 
angelic power at the upper end and the demoniac at the 
lower, and between them there is much interblending. 
The qualities of these beings are different, inasmuch 
as they have attained this stage of life in the course of 
metempsychosis by action, and actions are different on 
account of the three primary forces. They live very 
long, since they have entirely stripped off the bodies, 

On the 


since they are free from all exertion, and are able to do 

things which are impossible to man. They serve man 

Page 45. in whatever he desires, and are near him in cases of need. 

However, we can learn from the extract from SctThJchy a 
that this view is not correct. For Brahman, Indra, and 
Prajapati are not names of species, but of individuals. 
Brahman and Prajapati very nearly mean the same, 
but they bear different names on account of some 
quality or other. Indra is the ruler of the worlds. Be- 
sides, Vasudeva enumerates the Yaksha and Rakshasa 
together in one and the same class of demons, whilst 
the Puranas represent the Yaksha as guardian-angels 
and the servants of guardian-angels. 

After all this, we declare that the spiritual beiugs 
which we have mentioned are one category, who have 
attained their present stage of existence by action dur- 
ing the time when they were human beings. They have 
left their bodies behind them, for bodies are weights 
which impair the power and shorten the duration of 
life. Their qualities and conditions are different, in the 
same measure as one or other of the three p7'imary forces 
prevails over them. The first force is peculiar to the 
Deva, or angels who live in quietness and bliss. The 
predominant faculty of their mind is the comprehending 
of an idea luitlwut ynatter, as it is the predominant 
faculty of the mind of man to comprehend the idea in 

The third force is peculiar to the Pisaca and Bhuta, 
whilst the second is peculiar to the classes between them. 

The Hindus say that the number of Deva is thirty- 
three I'oti or crore, of which eleven belong to Maha- 
deva. Therefore this number is one of his surnames, 
and his name itself (Mahadeva) points in this direction. 
The sum of the number of angels just mentioned would 
be 330,000,000. 

Further, they represent the Deva as eating and drink- 
ing, cohabiting, living and dying, since they exist 


within matter, though in the most subtle and most 
simple kind of it, and since they have attained this by 
action, not by knowledge. The book Fatajijali relates 
that Nandikesvara offered many sacrifices to Mahadeva, 
and was in consequence transferred into paradise in his 
human shape; that Indra, the ruler, had intercourse with 
the wife of Nahusha the Brahmin, and therefore was 
changed into a serpent by way of punishment. 

After the Deva comes the class of the Pitaras, the onthePita- 
deceased ancestors, and after them the Bhuta, human iShrs. 
beings who have attached themselves to the spiritual 
beings (Deva), and stand in the middle between them 
and mankind. He who holds this degree, but without 
being free from the body, is called either Rishi or 
Siddha or Muni, and these differ among themselves 
according to their qualities. Siddha is he who has 
attained by his action the faculty to do in the world 
whatever he likes, but who does not aspire further, and 
does not exert himself on the path leading to liberation. 
He may ascend to the degree of a Rishi. If a Brahmin 
attains this degree, he is called Brahmarshi ; if the 
Kshatriya attains it, he is called Rdjarslii. It is not 
possible for the lower classes to attain this degree. 
Rishis are the sages who, though they are only human 
beings, excel the angels on account of their knowledge. 
Therefore the angels learn from them, and above them 
there is none but Brahman. 

After the Brahmarshi and Rajarshi come those classes 
of the populace which exist also among us, the castes, 
to whom we shall devote a separate chapter. 

All these latter beings are ranged under matter, vishnuthe 
Now, as regards the notion of that which is above Bmh^^an, 
matter, we say that the vX-q is the middle between and^Rudrk. 
matter and the spiritual divine ideas that are above 
matter, and that the three primavTj forces exist in the vXri 
dynamically (ev Si-va/xet). So the vXr], with all that is 
comprehended in it, is a bridge from above to below. 


Any life which circulates in the vXt] under the exclu- 
sive influence of the First Cause is called Braliman, 
Page 46. Frajdpati, and by many other names which occur in 
their religious law and tradition. It is identical with 
nature in so far as it is active, for all bringing into 
existence, the creation of the world also, is attributed 
by them to Brahman. 

Any life which circulates in the vXt] under the influ- 
ence of the seco7id force is called Ndrdyana in the 
tradition of the Hindus, which means nature in so far 
as it has reached the end of its action, and is now striv- 
ing to preserve that which has been produced. Thus 
Narayana strives so to arrange the world that it should 

Any life which circulates in the vX-q under the influ- 
ence of the third force is called Mahddeva and SaohJcarcc, 
but his best-known name is Rudra. His work is 
destruction and annihilation, like nature in the last 
stages of activity, when its power slackens. 

These three beings bear different names, as they cir- 
culate through the various degrees to above and below, 
and accordingly their actions are different. 

But prior to all these beings there is one source 
whence everything is derived, and in this unity they 
comprehend all three things, no more separating one 
from the other. This unity they call Vishnu, a name 
which more properly designates the middle force ; but 
sometimes they do not even make a distinction between 
this middle force and the first cause {i.e. they make 
Narayana the causa causarum). 

Here there is an analogy between Hindus and Chris- 
tians, as the latter distinguish between the Three Per- 
sons and give them separate names. Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, but unite them into one substance. 

This is what clearly results from a careful exami- 
nation of the Hindu doctrines. Of their traditional 
accounts, which are full of silly notions, we shall speak 


hereafter in the course of our explanation. You must 
not wonder if the Hindus, in their stories about the 
class of the Deva, whom we have explained as angels, 
allow them all sorts of things, unreasonable in them- 
selves, some perhaps not objectionable, others decidedly 
objectionable, both of wbich the theologians of Islam 
would declare to be incompatible with the dignity and 
nature of angels. 

If you compare these traditions with those of the Greek parai- 
G reeks regarding their own religion, you will cease to aWt zeus. 
find the Hindu system strange. We have already men- 
tioned that they called the angels gods (p. 36). Now 
consider their stories about Zeus, and you will under- 
stand the truth of our remark. As for anthropomor- 
phisms and traits of animal life which they attribute to 
him, we give the following tradition: "When he was 
born, his father wanted to devour him ; but his mother 
took a stone, wrapped rags round it, and gave him the 
stone to swallow, whereupon he went away." This is 
also mentioned by Galenus in his Book of Speeches, 
where he relates that Philo had in an enigmatical way 
described the preparation of the <^tAwve6oi/ cfidpi^aKov in 
a poem of his by the following words : — 

" Take red hair, diffusing siveet odour, the qferi^ig to the gods, 
And of num^s blood weigh weights of the number of the mental 

The poet mesnisjlvc pounds of saffron, because the senses 
are Jive. The weights of the other ingredients of the 
mixture he describes in similar enigmatic terms, of 
which Galenus gives a commentary. In the same 
poem occurs the following verse : — 

" And of the pseudonymous root ivhich has grovm in the district 
in ichich Zeus was horn.'^ 

To which Galenus adds : "This is Andropogon Nardus, 
which hears a false name, because it is called an ear of 
corn, although it is not an ear, but a root. The poet 


prescribes that it should be Cretan, because the mytho- 
logists relate that Zeus was born on the mountain 
Page 47. Au<Ta?ov in Crcta, where his mother concealed him 
from his father Kronos, that he should not devour him 
as he had devoured others." 

Besides, well-known story-books tell that he married 
certain women one after the other, cohabited with 
others, doing violence to them and not marrying them ; 
among them Europa, the daughter of Phoenix, who was 
taken from him by Asterios, king of Crete. After- 
wards she gave birth to two children from him, Minos 
and Ehadamanthus. This happened long before the 
Israelites left the desert and entered Palestine. 

Another tradition is that he died in Crete, and was 
buried there at the time of Samson the Israelite, being 
780 years of age ; that he was called Zeics when he had 
become old, after he had formerly been called Bios; and 
that the first who gave him this name was Cecrops, the 
first king of Athens. It was common to all of them 
to indulge in their lusts without any restraint, and to 
favour the business of the pander ; and so far they were 
not unlike Zoroaster and King Gushtasp when they 
desired to consolidate the realm and the rule (sic). 

Chroniclers maintain that Cecrops and his successors 
are the source of all the vices among the Athenians, 
meaning thereby such things as occur in the story of 
Alexander, viz. that Nectanebus, king of Egy23t, after 
having fled before Artaxerxes the Black and hiding in 
the capital of Macedonia, occupied himself with astro- 
logy and soothsaying ; that he beguiled Olympias, the 
wife of King I^hilip, who was absent. He cunningly 
contrived to cohabit with her, showing himself to her 
in the figure of the god Ammon, as a serpent with two 
heads like rams' heads. So she became pregnant with 
Alexander. Philip, on returning, was about to disclaim 
the paternity, but then he dreamt that it was the child 
of the god Ammon. Thereupon he recognised the child 


as his, and spoke, " Man cannot oppose the gods." The 
combination of the stars had shown to Nectanebiis that 
he would die at the hands of his son. When then 
he died at the hands of Alexander from a wound in 
the neck, he recognised that he was his (Alexander's) 

The tradition of the Greeks is full of similar things. 
We shall relate similar subjects when speaking of the 
marriages of the Hindus. 

Now we return to our subject. Regarding that part Quotations 
of the nature of Zeus which has no connection with Aratos. 
humanity, the Greeks say that he is Jupiter, the son of 
Saturn ; for Saturn alone is eternal, not having been 
born, according to the philosophers of the Academy, as 
Galenus says in the Book of Deduction. This is suffi- 
ciently proved by the book of Aratos on the ^atvofxeva^ 
for he begins with the praise of Zeus : 

" We, mankind, do not leave bim, nor can we do without him ; 
Of him the roads are full, 
And the meeting-places of men. 
He is mild towards them ; 

He produces for them what they wish, and incites them to work. 
Reminding them of the necessities of life, 
He indicates to them the times favourable 
For digging and ploughing for a good growth, 
Who has raised the signs and stars in heaven. 
Therefore we humiliate ourselves before him first and last." 

And then he praises the spiritual beings (the Muses). 
If you compare Greek theology with that of the Hindus, 
you will find that Brahman is described in the same 
way as Zeus by Aratos. 

The author of the commentary on the ^aivoiieva of 
Aratos maintains that he deviated from the custom of 
the poets of his time in beginning with the gods ; that 
it was his intention to speak of the celestial sphere. 
Further, he makes reflections on the origin of Asclepius, Page 48. 
like Galenus, and says: "We should like to know 

VOL. I. G 


which Zens Aratos meant, the mystical or the physical 
one. For the poet Krates called the celestial sphere 
Zeus, and likewise Homer says : 

' As pieces of snow are cut off from Zeus.'' " 

Aratos calls the ether and the air Zeus in the passage : 
'• The roads and the meeting- places are full of him, and 
we all must inhale him." 

Therefore the philosophers of the Stoa maintain that 
Zeus is the spirit which is dispersed in the vXr], and 
similar to our souls, i.e. the nature which rules every 
natural body. The author supposes that he is mild, 
since he is the cause of the good ; therefore he is right 
in maintaining that he has not only created men, but 
also the gods. 

( 99 ) 



If a new order of things in political or social life is Tiuoneand 
created by a man naturally ambitious of ruling, who '^^*'^'' 
by his character and capacity really deserves to be a 
ruler, a man of firm convictions and unshaken deter- 
mination, who even in times of reverses is supported by 
good luck, in so far as people then side with him in 
recognition of former merits of his, such an order is 
likely to become consolidated among those for whom 
it was created, and to continue as firm as the deeply 
rooted mountains. It will remain among them as a 
generally recognised rule in all generations through the 
course of time and the flight of ages. If, then, this new 
form of state or society rests in some degree on religion, 
these twins, state and religion, are in perfect harmony, 
and their union represents the highest development of 
human society, all that men can possibly desire. 

The kings of antiquity, who were industriously de- 
voted to the duties of their office, spent most of their 
care on the division of their subjects into different 
classes and orders, which they tried to preserve from 
intermixture and disorder. Therefore they forbade 
people of different classes to have intercourse with each 
other, and laid upon each class a particular kind of 
work or art and handicraft. They did not allow any- 
body to transgress the limits of his class, and even 


punished those who would not be content with their 
Castes of All this is Well illustrated by the history of the 

PersSs!^ ancient Ohosroes (Khusrau), for they had created great 
institutions of this kind, which could not be broken 
through by the special merits of any individual nor by 
bribery. When Ardashir ben Babak restored the Per- 
sian empire, he also restored the classes or castes of the 
population in the following way : — 

The first class were the knights and princes. 

The second class the monks, the fire-priests, and the 

The third class the physicians, astronomers, and other 
men of science. 

The fourth class the husbandmen and artisans. 

And within these classes there were subdivisions, dis- 
tinct from each other, like the species within a genus. 
All institutions of this kind are like a pedigree, as long 
as their origin is remembered ; but when once their 
origin has been forgotten, they become, as it were, the 
stable property of the whole nation, nobody any more 
questioning its origin. And forgetting is the necessary 
result of any long period of time, of a long succession 
of centuries and generations. 

Among the Hindus institutions of this kind abound. 
We Muslims, of course, stand entirely on the other side 
of the question, considering all men as equal, except in 
piety ; and this is the greatest obstacle which prevents 
any approach or understanding between Hindus and 
The four The Hiudus call their castes varna, i.e. colours, and 

from a genealogical point of view they call them, jdt aha, 
Page 49. i.e. births. These castes are from the vei:y beginning 
only four. 

I. The highest caste are the Brahmana, of whom the 
books of the Hindus tell that they were created from 
the head of Brahman. And as Brahman is only another 


name for the force called nature, and the head is the 
highest part of the animal body, the Brahmana are the 
choice part of the whole genus. Therefore the Hindus 
consider them as the very best -of' mj«,rki'!:id. ' ' 

II. The next caste are the Kehatr-iya, vvho w'e?^e 
created, as they say, from tKe'shciilders and bands "^of 
Brahman. Their degree is not much below that of the 

III. After them follow the Yaisya, who were created 
from the thigh of Brahman. 

IV. The Sudra, who were created from his feet. 
Between the latter two classes there is no very 

great distance. Much, however, as these classes differ 
from each other, they live together in the same towns 
and villages, mixed together in the same houses and 

After the Sudra follow the people called Antyaja, who Low-caste 
render various kinds of services, who are not reckoned 
amongst any caste, but only as members of a certain 
craft or profession. There are eight classes of them, 
who freely intermarry with each other, except the fuller, 
shoemaker, and weaver, for no others would condescend 
to have anything to do with them. These eight guilds 
are the fuller, shoemaker, juggler, the basket and shield 
maker, the sailor, fisherman, the hunter of wild animals 
and of birds, and the weaver. The four castes do not 
live together with them in one and the same place. 
These guilds live near the villages and towns of the 
four castes, but outside them. 

The people called Hfidi, Doma (Domba), Cancirda, ^ 
and Badhatau (sic) are not reckoned amongst any caste 
or guild. They are occupied with dirty work, like the 
cleansing of the villages and other services. They are 
considered as one sole class, and distinguished only by 
their occupations. In fact, they are considered like 
illegitimate children ; for according to general opinion 
they descend from a Sudra father and a Brahman! 


mother as the children of fornication ; therefore they 
are degraded outcasts. 
Different T-he Hindus p'ive to every single man of the four 

occupations ... . 

of the castes castes~ 'charactferl.siic names, according to their occu- 
p'ations^ and modes of life. Ujj. the Brahmana is in 
general ^called by Uws name as long as he does his work 
staying at home. When he is busy with the service 
of one fire, he is called ishtin ; if he serves three fires, he 
is called agnihotrin ; if he besides offers an offering to 
the fire, he is called dikshita. And as it is with the 
Brahmana, so is it also with the other castes. Of the 
classes beneath the castes, the Hadi are the best spoken 
of, because they keep themselves free from everything 
unclean. Next follow the Doma, who play on the lute 
and sing. The still lower classes practise as a trade 
killing and the inflicting of judicial punishments. The 
worst of all are the Badhatau, who not only devour the 
flesh of dead animals, but even of dogs aud other 

Customs of Each of the four castes, when eating together, must 

mills. form a group for themselves, one group not being 

allowed to comprise two men of different castes. If, 
further, in the group of the Brahmana there are two 
men who live at enmity with each other, and the seat 
of the one is by the side of the other, they make a 
barrier between the two seats by placing a board 
between them, or by spreading a piece of dress, or in 
some other way ; and if there is only a line drawn 
between them, they are considered as separated. Since 
it is forbidden to eat the remains of a meal, every single 
man must have his own food for himself ; for if any one 
of the party who are eating should take of the food from 
one and the same plate, that which remains in the plate 
becomes, after the first eater has taken part, to him who 

Page 50. wants to take as the second, the remains of the meal, 
and such is forbidden. 

Such is the condition of the four castes. Arjuna 


asked about the nature of the four castes and what 
must be their moral qualities, whereupon Vasudeva 
answered : 

" The Brahmana must have an ample intellect, a 
quiet heart, truthful speech, much patience ; he must 
be master of his senses, a lover of justice, of evident 
purity, always directed upon worship, entirely bent 
upon religion. 

" The Kshatriya must fill the hearts with terror, must 
be brave and high-minded, must have ready speech and 
a liberal hand, not minding dangers, only intent upon 
carrying the great tasks of his calling to a happy end. 

" The Vaisya is to occupy himself with agriculture, 
with the acquisition of cattle, and with trade. 

"The Sudra is to endeavour to render services and 
attention to each of the preceding classes, in order to 
make himself liked by them. 

" If each member of these castes adheres to his cus- 
toms and usages, he will obtain the happiness he wishes 
for, supposing that he is not negligent in the worship of 
God, not forgetting to remember him in his most im- 
portant avocations. But if anybody wants to quit the 
works and duties of his caste and adopt those of another 
caste, even if it would bring a certain honour to the 
latter, it is a sin, because it is a transgression of the 

Further, Vasudeva speaks, inspiring him with courage 
to fight the enemy : " Dost thou not know, man with 
the long arm, that thou art a Kshatriya ; that thy race 
has been created brave, to rush boldly to the charge, 
to care little for the vicissitudes of time, never to give 
way whenever their soul has a foreboding of coming 
misfortune? for only thereby is the reward to be ob- 
tained. If he conquers, he obtains power and good 
fortune. If he perishes, he obtains paradise and bliss. 
Besides, thou showest weakness in the presence of the 
enemy, and seemest melancholy at the prospect of 


killing this host ; but it will be iufiuitely worse if thy 
name will spread as that of a timid, cowardly man, that 
thy reputation among the heroes and the experienced 
warriors will be gone, that thou wilt be out of their 
sight, and thy name no longer be remembered among 
them. I do not know a worse punishment than such 
a state. Death is better than to expose thyself to the 
consequences of ignominy. If, therefore, God has 
ordered thee to fight, if he has deigned to confer upon 
thy caste the task of fighting and has created thee for 
it, carry out his order and perform his will with a 
determination which is free from any desire, so that 
thy action be exclusively devoted to him." 
Mokshaaiid Hiudus differ among themselves as to which of these 
castes. castes is capable of attaining to liberation ; for, according 

to some, only the Brahmana and Kshatriya are capable 
of it, since the others cannot learn the Veda, whilst 
according to the Hindu philosophers, liberation is 
common to all castes and to the whole human race, if 
their intention of obtaining it is perfect. This view 
is based on the saying of Vyasa : " Learn to know 
the twenty-five things thoroughly. Then you may 
follow whatever religion you like ; you will no doubt 
be liberated." This view is also based on the fact 
that Vasudeva was a descendant of a Riidra family, 
and also on the following saying of his, which he 
addressed to Arjuna: "God distributes recompense 
without injustice and without partiality. He reckons 
the good as bad if people in doing good forget him ; he 
reckons the bad as good if people in doing bad remem- 
ber him and do not forget him, whetber those people be 
Vaisya or Siidra or women. How much more will this 
Page 51. be the case when they are Brahmana or Kshatriya." 

( I05 ) 



The ancient Greeks received their religious and civil Lawand 
laws from sages among them who were called to the among the 
work, and of whom their countrymen believed that founded by 
they received divine help, like Solon, Draco, Pythagoras, 
Minos, and others. Also their kings did the same ; for 
Mianos (sic), when ruling over the islands of the sea 
and over the Cretans about two hundred years after 
Moses, gave them laws, pretending to have received 
them from Zens. About the same time also Minos (sic) 
gave his laws. 

At the time of Darin s I., the successor of Cyrus, the 
Romans sent messengers to the Athenians, and received 
from them the laws in twelve books, under which they 
lived till the rule of Pompilius (Numa). Tins king 
gave them new laws ; he assigned to the year twelve 
months, whilst up to that time it had only had ten 
months. It appears that he introduced his innovations 
against the will of the Romans, for he ordered them to 
use as instruments of barter in commerce pieces of 
pottery and hides instead of silver, which seems on 
his part to betray a certain anger against rebellious 

In the first chapter of the Book of Lavjs of Plato, the Quotation _ 
Athenian stranger says: "Who do you think was the zoi 



first who gave laws to you ? Was he an angel or a man ? " 
The man^of Cnossus said: "He was an angel. In 
truth, with us it was Zeus, but with the Lacedasmonians, 
as they maintain, the legislator was Apollo." 

Further, he says in the same chapter : "It is the 
duty of the legislator, if he comes from God, to make 
the acquisition of the greatest virtues and of the highest 
justice the object of his legislation." 

He describes the laws of the Cretans as rendering 
perfect the happiness of those who make the proper 
use of them, because by them they acquire all the 
human good which is dependent upon the divine good. 
The Athenian says in the second chapter of the 
same book : " The gods, pitying mankind as born for 
trouble, instituted for them feasts to the gods, the 
Muses, Apollo the ruler of the Muses, and to Dionysos, 
who gave men wine as a remedy against the bitterness 
of old age, that old men should again be young by 
forgetting sadness, and by bringing back the character 
of the soul from the state of affliction to the state of 

Further he says : " They have given to men by in- 
spiration the arrangements for dancing, and the equally 
weighed rhythm as a reward for fatigues, and that they 
may become accustomed to live together with them in 
feasts and joy. - Therefore they call one kind of their 
music praises, with an implied allusion to the prayers 
to the gods." 

Such was the case with the Greeks, and it is precisely 

the same with the Hindus. For they believe that their 

The Rishis, religious law and its single precepts derive their origin 

of HiiKhi'"' from Rishis, their sages, the pillars of their religion, 

Page 52. ^^^ i^ot from the prophet, i.e. Narayana, who, when 

coming into this world, appears in some human figure. 

But he only comes in order to cut away some evil 

matter which threatens the world, or to set the world 

right again when anything has gone wrong. Further, no 


law can be exchanged or replaced by another, for they 
use the laws simply as they find them. Therefore they 
can dispense witli prophets, as far as law and worship 
are concerned, though in other affairs of the creation 
they sometimes want them. 

As for the question of the abrogation of laws, it whether 

-, . . . .11 • 1 1 TT 1 r laws may be 

seems that this is not impossible with the Hindus, tor abrogated or 
they say that many things which are now forbidden 
were allowed before the coming of Vasudeva, e.g. the 
flesh of cows. Such changes are necessitated by the 
change of the nature of man, and by their being too 
feeble to bear the whole burden of their duties. To 
these changes also belong the changes of the matri- 
monial system and of the theory of descent. For in 
former times there were three modes of determining 
descent or relationship^ : 

1. The child born to a man by his legitimate wife is Diflferent 
the child of the father, as is the custom with us and syst"ms°"''^ 
with the Hindus. 

2. If a man marries a woman and has a child by her ; 
if, farther, the marriage-contract stipulates that the 
children of the woman will belong to her father, the 
child is considered as the child of its grandfather who 
made that stipulation, and not as the child of its father 
who engendered it. 

3. If a stranger has a child by a married woman, the 
child belongs to her husband, since the wife being, as it 
were, the soil in which the child has grown, is the pro- 
perty of the husband, always presupposing that the 
sowing, i.e. the cohabitation, takes place with his con- 

According to this principle. Panda was considered as Tiie story of 
the son of Santanu ; for this king had been cursed by Vyasa. 
an anchorite, and in consequence was unable to cohabit 
with his wives, which was the more provoking to him 
as he had not yet any children. Now he asked Vyasa, 
the son of Parasara, to procreate for him children from 


his wives in his place. Pftndu sent him one, but she 
was afraid of him when he cohabited with her, and 
trembled, in consequence of which she conceived a 
sickly child of yellow hue. Then the king sent him a 
second woman ; she, too, felt much reverence for him, 
and wrapped herself up in her veil, and in consequence 
she gave birth to Dhritarfishtra, who was blind and 
unhealthy. Lastly, he sent him a third woman, whom 
he enjoined to put aside all fear and reverence with 
regard to tlie saint. Laughing and in high spirits, she 
went in to him, and conceived from him a child of 
moon-like beauty, who excelled all men in boldness and 

Birth of The four sons of Pandu had one wife in common, 

''^ ' who stayed one month with each of them alternately. 

In the books of the Hindus it is told that Parasara, the 
hermit, one day travelled in a boat in which there was 
also a daughter of the boatman. He fell in love with 
her, tried to seduce her, and finally she yielded ; but 
there was nothing on the bank of the river to hide 
them from the looks of the people. However, instan- 
taneously there grew a tamarisk-tree to facilitate their 
purpose. Now he cohabited with her behind the tama- 
risk, and made her conceive, whereupon she became 
pregnant with this his excellent son Vyasa. 

All these customs have now been abolished and ab- 
rogated, and therefore we may infer from their tradi- 
tion that in principle the (ilrogation of a laiv is allowahle. 

Various As regards unnatural kinds of marriage, we must 

state that such exist still in our time, as they also 
existed in the times of Arab heathendom ; for the 
people inhabiting the mountains stretching from the 
region of Panchir into the neighbourhood of Kashmir 
live under the rule that several brothers have one wife 
in common. Among the heathen Arabs, too, marriage 
was of different kinds : — 

Page 53. I. An Arab ordered his wife to be sent to a certain 

with Tibe 
tuns and 


mau to demand sexual intercourse with him ; then he 
abstained from her during the whole time of her preg- 
nancy, since he wished to have from her a generous 
offspring. This is identical with the third kind of 
marriage among the Hindus. 

2. A second kind was this, that the one Arab said to 
the other, " Cede me your wife, and I will cede you 
mine," and thus they exchanged their wives. 

3. A third kind is this, that several men cohabited 
with one wife. Wben, then, she gave birth to a child, 
she declared who was the father ; and if she did not 
know it, the fortune-tellers had to know it. 

4. The Nikdh-elmaJd (= matrimonium exosiim), i.e. 
when a man married the widow of his father or of his 
son, the child of such a marriage was called daizan. 
This is nearly the same as a certain Jewish marriage, 
for the Jews have the law that a man must marry the 
widow of his brother, if the latter has not left children, 
and create a line of descent for his deceased brother ; 
and the offspring is considered as that of the deceased 
man, not as that of the real father. Thereby they want 
to prevent his memory dying out in the world. In 
Hebrew they call a man who is married in this way 

There was a similar institution among the Magians. Marriage 
In the book of Tausar, the great Iterhadli, addressed to ancient 
Padashvar-girshah, as an answer to his attacks on ^ ' * 
Ardashir the son of Babak, we find a description of the 
institution of a man's being married as the substitute 
for another man, which existed among the Persians. 
If a man dies without leaving male offspring, people 
are to examine the case. If he leaves a wife, they 
marry her to his nearest relative. If he does not leave 
a wife, they marry his daughter or the nearest related 
woman to the nearest related male of the family. 
If there is no woman of his family left, they woo by 
means of the money of the deceased a woman for his 


family, and marry her to some male relative. The 
child of such a marriage is considered as the offspring 
of the deceased. 

Whoever neglects this duty and does not fulfil it, 
kills innumerable souls, since he cuts off the progeny 
and the name of the deceased to all eternity. 

We have here given an account of these things in 
order that the reader may learn by the comparative 
treatment of the subject how much superior the insti- 
tutions of Islam are, and how much more plainly this 
contrast brings out all customs and usages, differing 
from those of Islam, in their essential foulness. 



It is well known that the popular mind leans towards origin of 

. iTf. idol- worship 

the sensible world, and has an aversion to the world oi in the 

abstract thought which is only understood by highly 
educated people, of whom in every time and every 
place there are only few. And as common people will 
only acquiesce in pictorial representations, many of the 
leaders of religious communities have so far deviated 
from the right path as to give such imagery in their 
books and houses of worship, like the Jews and Chris- 
tians, and, more than all, the Manich^eans. These 
words of mine would at once receive a sufficient illus- 
tration if, for example, a picture of the Prophet were 
made, or of Mekka and the Ka'ba, and were shown to 
an uneducated man or woman. Their joy in looking 
at the thing would bring them to kiss the picture, to 
rub their cheeks against it, and to roll themselves in 
the dust before it, as if they were seeing not the picture, 
but the original, and were in this way, as if they were 
present in the holy places, performing the rites of pil- 
grimage, the great and the small ones. 

This is the cause which leads to the manufacture of 
idols, monuments in honour of certain much venerated 
persons, prophets, sages, angels, destined to keep alive 
their memory when they are absent or dead, to create 
for them a lasting place of grateful veneration in the 
hearts of men when they die. But when much time 

of man. 


passes by after the setting up of the monument, genera- 
tions and centuries, its origin is forgotten, it becomes a 
matter of custom, and its veneration a rule for general 
practice. This being deeply rooted in the nature of 
man, the. legislators of antiquity tried to influence them 
from this weak point of theirs. Therefore they made 
the veneration of pictures and similar monuments ob- 
ligatory on them, as is recounted in historic records, 
both for the times before and after the Deluge. Some 
people even pretend to know that all mankind, before 
Page 54. God sent them his prophets, were one large idolatrous 

The followers of the Thora fix the beginning of ido- 
latry in the days of Serugh, the great-grandfather of 
Abraham. The Eomans have, regarding this question, 
story of the following tradition: — Romulus and Romaniis (!), 
aiXRemus. the two brothers from the country of the Franks, on 
having ascended the throne, built the city of Rome. 
Then Romulus killed his brother, and the consequence 
was a long succession of intestine troubles and wars. 
Finally, Romulus humiliated himself, and then he 
dreamt that there would only be peace on condition 
that he placed his brother on the throne. Now he got 
a golden image made of him, placed it at his side, and 
henceforward he used to say, " We (not /) have ordered 
thus and thus," which since has become the general 
use of kings. Thereupon the troubles subsided. He 
founded a feast and a play to amuse and to gain over 
those who bore him ill-will on account of the murder 
of his brother. Besides, he erected a monument to the 
sun, consisting of four images on four horses, the green 
one for the earth, the blue for the water, the red for the 
fire, and the white for the air. This monument is still 
in Rome in our days, 
idoi-wor- Since, however, here we have to explain the system and 

stiicted to the theories of the Hindus on the subject, we shall now 
classes of mention their ludicrous views ; but we declare at once 



that they are held only by the common uneducated 
people. For those who march on the path to liberation, 
or those who study philosophy and theology, and who 
desire abstract truth which they call sdra, are entirely 
free from worshipping anything but God alone, and 
would never dream of worshipping an image manufac- 
tured to represent him. A tradition illustrative of 
this is that which Saunaka told the king Pariksha in 
these words : — 

There was once a king called Ambarisha, who had story of 
obtained an empire as large as he had wished for. But baSfhlTnd 
afterwards he came to like it no longer ; he retired from ^^^^'^' 
the world, and exclusively occupied himself with wor- 
shipping and praising God for a long time. Finally, 
God appeared to him in the shape of Indra, the prince 
of the angels, riding on an elephant. He spoke to the 
king : " Demand whatever you like, and I will give it 

The king answered : "I rejoice in seeing thee, and 
I am thankful for the good fortune and help thou 
hast given ; but I do not demand anything from thee, 
but only from him who created thee." 

Indra said : " The object of worship is to receive a 
noble reward . Kealise, therefore, your object, and accept 
the reward from him from whom hitherto you have 
obtained your wishes, and do not pick and choose, 
saying, ' Not from thee, but from another.' " 

The king answered : " The earth has fallen to my lot, 
but I do not care for all that is in it. The object of 
my worship is to see the Lord, and that thou canst not 
give me. Why, therefore, should I demand the fulfil- 
ment of my desire from thee ? " 

Indra said : " The whole world and whoever is upon 
it are obedient to me. Who are you that you dare to 
oppose me ? " 

The king answered: "I, too, hear and obey, but I 
worship him from whom thou hast received this power, 

VOL. I. H 


who is the lord of the universe, who has protected thee 
against the attacks of the two kings, Bali and Hiran- 
yaksha. Therefore let me do as / like, and turn away 
from me with my farewell greeting." 

Indra said : " If you will absolutely oppose me, I will 
kill you and annihilate you." 

The king answered : " People say that happiness is 
envied, but not so misfortune. He who retires from 
the world is envied by the angels, and therefore they 
will try to lead him astray. I am one of those who 
have retired from the world and entirely devoted them- 
selves to worship, and I shall not give it up as long as 
Pa.^a 55. I Uvc. I do not kuow myself to be guilty of a crime 
for which I should deserve to be killed by thee. If 
thou killest me without any offence on my part, it is 
thy concern. What dost thou want from me ? If my 
thoughts are entirely devoted to God, and nothing else 
is blended with them, thou art not able to do me any 
harm. Sufficient for me is the worship with which I 
am occupied, and now I return to it." 

As the king now went on worshipping, the Lord 
appeared to him in the shape of a man of the grey 
lotus colour, riding on a bird called Garuda, holding in 
one of the four hands the sankha, a sea-shell which 
people blow when riding on elephants ; in the second 
hand the cakra, a round, cutting, orbicular weapon, 
which cuts everything it hits right through ; in the 
third an amulet, and in the iouvth padma, i.e. the red 
lotus. When the king saw him, he shuddered from 
reverence, prostrated himself and uttered many praises. 
The Lord quieted his terrified mind and promised him 
that he should obtain everything he wished for. The 
king spoke : "I had obtained an empire which nobody 
disputed with me; I was in conditions of life not 
troubled by sorrow or sickness. It was as if the 
whole world belonged to me. But then I turned away 
from it, after I had understood that the good of the 


world is really bad iu the end. I do not wish for any- 
thing except what I now have. The only thing I now 
wish for is to be liberated from this fetter." 

The Lord spoke : " That you will obtain by keeping 
aloof from the world, by being alone, by uninterrupted 
meditation, and by restraining your senses to yourself." 

The king spoke : " Supposing that I am able to do 
so through that sanctity which the Lord has deigned 
to bestow upon me, how should any other man be able 
to do so ? for man wants eating and clothing, which 
connects him with the world. How is he to think of 
anything else ? " 

The Lord spoke : " Occupy yourself with your empire 
in as straightforward and prudent a way as possible : 
turn your thoughts upon me when you are engaged in 
civilising the world and protecting its inhabitants, in 
giving alms, and in everything you do. And if you are 
overpowered by human forgetfulness, make to yourself 
an image like that in which you see me ; offer to it 
perfumes and flowers, and make it a memorial of me, 
so that you may not forget me. If you are in sorrow, 
think of me ; if you speak, speak in my name ; if you 
act, act for me." 

The king spoke: "Now I know what I have to do 
in general, but honour me further by instructing me 
in the details." 

The Lord spoke : " That I have done already. I have 
inspired your judge Yasishtha with all that is required. 
Therefore rely upon him in all questions." 

Then the figure disappeared from his sight. The 
king returned into his residence and did as he had 
been ordered. 

From that time, the Hindus say, people make idols, 
some with four hands like the appearance we have 
described, others with two hands, as the story and 
description require, and conformably to the being which 
is to be represented. 


Narada and Another stoiy o£ theirs is the following : — Brahman 

frorJthe had a son called Narada, who had no other desire but 

^'^' that of seeing the Lord. It was his custom, when he 

walked about, to hold a stick. If he threw it down, 

it became a serpent, and he was able to do miracles 

with it. He never went without it. One day being 

engrossed in meditation on the object of his hopes, he 

saw a fire from afar. He went towards it, and then a 

voice spoke to him out of the fire : " What you demand 

and v/ish is impossible. You cannot see me save 

thus." When he looked in that direction, he saw a 

fiery appearance in something like human shape. 

rage 56. Henceforward it has been the custom to erect idols of 

certain shapes. 
The idol c.f A famoLis idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated 
^^Aditya!^ to the sun, and therefore called Aditya. It was of wood 
and covered with red Cordovan leather ; in its two eyes 
were two red rubies. It is said to have been made in 
the last Kritayuga. Suppose that it was made in the 
very end of Kritayuga, the time which has since elapsed 
amounts to 216,432 years. When Muhammad Ibn 
Alkasim Ibn Almunabbih conquered Multan, he in- 
quired how the town had become so very flourishing 
and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and 
then he found out that this idol was the cause, for 
there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. There- 
fore he thought it best to have the idol where it was, 
but he hung a piece of cow's-flesh on its neck by way 
of mockery. On the same place a mosque was built. 
When then the Karmatians occupied Multan, Jalam 
Ibn Shaiban, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces 
and killed its priests. He made his mansion, which 
was a castle built of brick on an elevated place, the 
mosque instead of the old mosque, which he ordered to 
be shut from hatred against anything that had been 
done under the dynasty of the Caliphs of the house of 
'Umayya. When afterwards the blessed Prince Mah- 


mud swept away their rule from those countries, he 
made again the old mosque the place of the Friday- 
worship, and the second one was left to decay. At 
present it is only a barn-floor, where bunches of Hinna 
{Laiusonia inermis) are bound together. 

If we now subtract from the above-mentioned num- 
ber of years the hundreds, tens, and units, i.e. the 432 
years, as a kind of arbitrary equivalent for the sum of 
about 100 years, by which the rise of the Karmatians 
preceded our time, we get as the remainder 216,000 
years for the time of the end of the Kritayuga, and 
about the epoch of the era of the Hijra. How, then, 
could wood have lasted such a length of time, and 
particularly in a place where the air and the soil are 
rather wet ? God knows best ! 

The city of Taneshar is highly venerated by the The idol of 
Hindus. The idol of that place is called Calcrasvdmin, called 
i.e. the owner of the cakra, a weapon which we have svamin. 
already described (page 1 14). It is of bronze, and is 
nearly the size of a man. It is now lying in the hippo- 
drome in Ghazna, together with the Lord of Somandth, 
which is a representation of the ^9e?its of Mahadeva, 
called Linga. Of Soman a th we shall hereafter speak in 
the proper place. This Cakrasvamin is said to have 
been made in the time of Bharata as a memorial of wars 
connected with this name. 

In Inner Kashmir, about two or three days' journey Theidoi 
from the capital in the direction towards the mountains I^J'w" 
of Bolor, there is a wooden idol called &dvada, which is 
much venerated and frequented by pilgrims. 

We shall now communicate a whole chapter from the Quotation 

, -, from the 

book Samhitd relating to the construction ot idols, samhitaof 
which will help the student thoroughly to comprehend hira. ' 
the present subject. 

Varahamihira says : "If the figure is made to repre- 
sent Rama the son of Dasaratha, or Bali the son of 
Virocana, give it the height of 120 digits," i.e. of idol 


digits, which must be reduced by one-tenth to become 
common digits, in this case io8. 

" To the idol of Vishnu give eight hands, or four, or 
two, and on the left side under the breast give him the 
figure of the woman Sri. If you give him eight hands, 
place in the right hands a sword, a club of gold or iron, 
an arrow, and make the fourth hand as if it were draw- 
Page 57. ing water ; in the left hands give him a shield, a bow, a 
calc.ra, and a conch. 

" If you give him four hands, omit the bow and the 
arrow, the sword and shield. 

"If you give him two hands, let the right hand be 
drawing water, the left holding a conch. 

" If the figure is to represent Baladeva, the brother of 
Nilrayana, put earrings into his ears, and give him eyes 
of a drunken man. 

"If you make both figures, Narayana and Baladeva, 
join with them their sister Bliagavati (Durga = Eka- 
nansa), her left hand resting on her hip a little away 
from the side, and her right hand holding a lotus. 

" If you make her four-handed, place in the right hands 
a rosary and a hand drawing water ; in the left hands, a 
book and a lotus. 

" If you make her eight-handed, place in the left hands 
the kamandalu, i.e. a pot, a lotus, bow and book ; in -the 
right hands, a rosary, a mirror, an arrow, and a water- 
drawing hand. 

" If the figure is to represent Samba, the son of Vishnu, 
put only a club in his right hand. If it is to represent 
Pradyumna, the son of Vishnu, place in his right hand 
an arrow, in his left hand a bow. And if you make 
their two wives, place in their right hand a sword, in 
the left a buckler. 

" The idol of Brahman has four faces towards the four 
sides, and is seated on a lotus. 

"The idol of Skanda, the son of Mahadeva, is a boy 
riding on a peacock, his hand holding a sakti, a weapon 


like a double-edged sword, which has in the middle a 
pestle like that of a mortar. 

"The idol Indra holds in its hand a weapon called 
vajra of diamond. It has a similar handle to the sakti, 
but on each side it has two swords which join at the 
handle. On his front place a third eye, and make him 
ride on a white elephant with four tusks. 

" Likewise make on the front of the idol of Mahadeva 
a third eye right above, on his head a crescent, in his 
hand a weapon called silla, similar to the club but with 
three branches, and a sword ; and let his left hand hold 
his wife Gauri, the daughter of Himavant, whom he 
presses to his bosom from the side. 

" To the idol Jina, i.e. Buddha, give a face and limbs as 
beautiful as possible, make the lines in the palms of his 
hands and feet like a lotus, and represent him seated 
on a lotus ; give him grey hair, and represent him with 
a placid expression, as if he were the father of creation. 

"If you make Arhant, the figure of another body of 
Buddha, represent him as a naked youth with a fine 
face, beautiful, whose hands reach down to the knees, 
with the figure of Sri, his wife, under the left breast. 

" The idol of Revanta, the son of the sun, rides on a 
horse like a huntsman. 

" The idol of Yima, the angel of death, rides on a 
buffalo, and holds a club in his hand. 

" The idol of Kubera, the treasurer, wears a crown, has 
a big stomach and wide hips, and is riding on a man. 

" The idol of the sun has a red face like the pith of 
the red lotus, beams like a diamond, has protruding 
limbs, rings in the ears, the neck adorned with pearls 
which hang down over the breast, wears a crown of 
several compartments, holds in his hands two lotuses, 
and is clad in the dress of the Northerners which reaches 
down to the ankle. 

" If you represent the Seven Mothers, represent several Page 5^. 
of them together in one figure, Brahmani with four faces 


towards the four directions, Kaumriri with six faces, 
Vaishnavi with four hands, Varahi with a hog's head 
on a human bod}^, Indrani with many eyes and a club 
in her hand, Bhagavati (Durga) sitting as people 
generally sit, Camunda ugly, with protruding teeth 
and a slim waist. Further join with them the sons of 
Mahadeva, Kshetrapala with bristling hair, a sour face, 
and an ugly figure, but Vinayaka with an elephant's 
head on a human body, with four hands, as we have 
heretofore described." 

The worshippers of these idols kill sheep and buffaloes 
with axes (kutdra), that they may nourish themselves 
with their blood. All idols are constructed according to 
certain measures determined by idol-fingers for every 
single limb, but sometimes they differ regarding the 
measure of a limb. If the artist keeps the right 
measure and does not make anything too large nor too 
small, he is free from sin, and is sure that the being 
which he represented will not visit him with any 
mishap. " If he makes the idol one cubit high and 
together with the throne two cubits, he will obtain 
health and wealth. If he makes it higher still, he will 
be praised. 

" But he must know that making the idol too large, 
especially that of the Sun, will hurt the ruler, and 
making it too small will hurt the artist. If he gives it 
a thin belly, this helps and furthers the famine in the 
country ; if he gives it a lean belly, this ruins property. 

" If the hand of the artist slips so as to produce some- 
thing like a wound, he will have a wound in his own 
body which will kill him. 

" If it is not completely even on both sides, so that 
the one shoulder is higher than the other, his wife will 

" If he turns the eye upward, he will be blind for 
lifetime ; if he turns it downward, he will have many 
troubles and sorrows." 


If the statue is made of some precious stone, it is 
better than if it were made of wood, and wood is better 
than clay. "The benefits of a statue of precious stone 
will be common to all the men and women of the 
empire. A golden statue will bring power to him who 
erected it, a statue of silver will bring him renown, one 
of bronze will bring him an increase of his rule, one of 
stone the acquisition of landed property." 

The Hindus honour their idols on account of those 
who erected them, not on account of the material of 
which they are made. We have already mentioned 
that the idol of Multan was of wood. U.g. the liiiga 
which Kama erected when he had finished the war with 
the demons was of sand, which he had heaped up with 
his own hand. But then it became petrified all at once, 
since the astrologically correct moment for the erecting 
of the monument fell before the moment when the 
workmen had finished the cutting of the stone monu- 
ment which Rama originally had ordered. Regarding 
the building of the temple and its peristyle, the cutting 
of the trees of four different kinds, the astrological 
determination of the favourable moment for the erec- 
tion, the celebration of the rites due on such an occa- 
sion, regarding all this Rama gave very long and tedious 
instructions. Further, he ordered that servants and 
priests to minister to the idols should be nominated 
from different classes of the people. "To the idol of 
Vishnu are devoted the class called Bhagavata ; to the 
idol of the Sun, the Maga, i.e. the Magians ; to the idol 
of Mahadeva, a class of saints, anchorites with long 
hair, who cover their skin with ashes, hang on their 
persons the bones of dead people, and swim in the 
pools. The Brahmana are devoted to the Eight Page 59. 
Mothers, the Shamanians to Buddha, to Arhant the 
class called Nagna. On the whole, to each idol certain 
people are devoted who constructed it, for those know 
best how to serve it." 


Onr object in mentioning all this mad raving was to 
teach the reader the accurate description of an idol, if 
he happens to see one, and to illustrate what we have 
said before, that such idols are erected only for unedu- 
cated low-class people of little understanding ; that the 
Hindus never made an idol of any supernatural being, 
much less of God; and, lastly, to show how the crowd 
is kept in thraldom by all kinds of priestly tricks and 
deceits. Therefore the book Gitd says : " Many people 
try to approach me in their aspirations through some- 
thing which is different from me ; they try to insinuate 
themselves into my favour by giving alms, praise, and 
prayer to something besides me. I, however, confirm 
and help them in all these doings of theirs, and make 
them attain the object of their wishes, because I am 
able to dispense with them." 

In the same book Vasudeva speaks to Arjuna : " Do 
you not see that most of those who wish for something 
address themselves in offering and worshipping to the 
several classes of spiritual hcings, and to the sun, moon, 
and other celestial bodies ? If now God does not dis- 
appoint their hopes, though he in no way stands in 
need of their worship, if he even gives them more than 
they asked for, and if he gives them their wishes in 
such a way as though they were receiving them from 
that to which they had addressed their prayers — viz. 
the idol — they will proceed to worship those whom 
they address, because they have not learned to know 
him, whilst he, by admitting this kind of intermedia- 
tion, carries their affairs to the desired end. But that 
which is obtained by desires and intermediation is not 
lasting, since it is only as much as is deserved for any 
particular merit. Only that is lasting which is obtained 
from God alone, when people are disgusted with old 
age, death, and birth (and desire to be delivered there- 
from by Moksha):' 

This is what Vasudeva says. When the ignorant crowd 


get a piece of good luck by accident or something at 
wliicli they had aimed, and when with this some of the 
preconcerted tricks of the priests are brought into con- 
nection, the darkness in which they live increases 
vastly, not their intelligence. They will rush to those 
figures of idols, maltreating their own figures before 
them by shedding their own blood and mutilating their 
own bodies. 

The ancient Greeks, also, considered the idols as 
mediators between themselves and the First Cause, and 
worshipped them under the names of the stars and the 
highest substances. For they described the First Cause, 
not with positive, but only with negative predicates, 
since they considered it too high to be described by 
human qualities, and since they wanted to describe it 
as free from any imperfection. Therefore they could 
not address it in worship. 

When the heathen Arabs had imported into their 
country idols from Syria, they also worshipped them, 
hoping that they would intercede for them with God. 

Plato says in the fourth chapter of the Booh of Laws : 
" It is necessary to any one who gives perfect honours 
(to the gods) that he should take trouble with the 
mijstery of the gods and Sakinat, and that he should 
not make sjDecial idols masters over the ancestral gods. 
Further, it is the greatest duty to give honours as much 
as possible to the parents while they live." 

By mystery Plato means a sjoecial kind of devotion. 
The word is much used among the Sfibians of Harran, 
the dualistic Manichreans, and the theologians of the 

Galenus says in the book Dc Indole Animce : " At 
the time of the Emperor Commodus, between 500-5 lO 
years after Alexander, two men went to an idol-mer- Page 60. 
chant and bargained with him for an idol of Hermes. 
The one wanted to erect it in a temple as a memorial 
of Hermes, the other wanted to erect it on a tomb as a 


memorial of the deceased. However, they could not 
settle the business with the merchant, and so they 
postponed it until the following day. The idol-merchant 
dreamt the following night that the idol addressed him 
and spoke to him : ' excellent man ! I am thy work. 
I have received through the work of thy hands a figure 
which is thought to be the figure of a star. Now I am 
no longer a stone, as people called me heretofore ; I am 
now known as Mercury. At present it stands in thy 
hands to make me either a memorial of something im- 
perishable or of something that has perished already.' " 

There is a treatise of Aristotle in which he answers 
certain questions of the Brahmins which Alexander bad 
sent him. There he says : "If you maintain that some 
Greeks have fabled that the idols speak, that the people 
offer to them and think them to be spiritual beings, of 
all this we have no knowledge, and we cannot" give a 
sentence on a subject we do not know." In these words 
he rises high above the class of fools and uneducated 
people, and he indicates by them that he does not 
occupy himself with such things. It is evident that 
the first cause of idolatry was the desire of commemo- 
rating the dead and of consoling the living ; but on this 
basis it has developed, and has finally become a foul 
and pernicious abuse. 

The former view, that idols are only memorials, was 
also held by the Caliph Mu awiya regarding the idols 
of Sicily. When, in the summer of A.H. 53, Sicily was 
conquered, and the conquerors sent him golden idols 
adorned with crowns and diamonds which had been 
captured there, he ordered them to be sent to Sind, that 
they should be sold there to the princes of the country ; 
for he thought it best to sell them as objects costing 
sums of so-and-so many denars, not having the slightest 
scruple on account of their being objects of abomin- 
able idolatry, but simply considering the matter from a 
political, not from a religious point of view. 

( 125 ) 



Veda means knowledge of that which was before uu- Sundry 

-r • T • 1 • 1 T notes relat- 

known. It is a religious system which, accordiDg to ing:tothe 
the Hindus, comes from God, and was promulgated 
by the mouth of Brahman. The Brahmins recite 
the Veda without understanding its meaning, and in 
the same way they learn it by heart, the one receiv- 
ing it from the other. Only few of them learn its 
explanation, and still less is the number of those who 
master the contents of the Veda and their interpretation 
to such a degree as to be able to hold a theological 

The Brahmins teach the Veda to the Kshatriyas. 
The latter learn it, but are not allowed to teach it, not 
even to a Brahmin. The Vaisya and Sudra are not 
allowed to hear it, much less to pronounce and recite 
it. If such a thing can be proved against one of them, 
the Brahmins drag him before the magistrate, and he 
is punished by having his tongue cut off. 

The Veda contains commandments and prohibitions, 
detailed statements about reward and punishment in- 
tended to encourage and to deter ; but most of it con- 
tains hymns of praise, and treats of the various kinds 
of sacrifices to the fire, which are so numerous and 
difficult that you could hardly count them. 

They do not allow the Veda to be committed to TheVeda 

... t' ... -jT T , ,• T transmitted 

writing, because it is recited according to certain modu- by memory. 


lations, and they therefore avoid the use of the pen, 
since it is liable to cause some error, and may occasion 
an addition or a defect in the written text. In conse- 
quence it has happened that they have several times 
forgotten the Veda and lost it. For they maintain that 
the following passage occurs in the conversations be- 
tween God and Brahman relating to the beginning of 
all thiugs, according to the report of vSaunaka who had 
received it from the planet Venus: "You will forget 
the Veda at the time when the earth will be submerged; 
it will then go down to the depths of the earth, and 
none but the fish will be able to bring it out again. 
Therefore I shall send the fish, and it will deliver the 
Veda into your hands. And I shall send the boar to 
raise the earth with its tusks aud to bring it out of the 

Further, the Hindus maintain that the Veda, together 
with all the rites of their religion and country, had been 
obliterated in the last Dvapara-yuga, a period of time 
of which we shall speak in the proper place, until it 
was renewed by Vyasa, the son of Parasara. 

The Vishnu Furchia ssLjs : "At the beginning of each 
Manvantara period there will be created anew a lord 
of a period whose children will rule over the whole 
earth, and a prince who will be the head of the world, 
and angels to whom men will bring fire-offerings, and 
the Gi^eat Bear, who will renew the Veda which is lost 
at the end of each period." 

This is the reason why, not long before our time, 
Vasukra, a native of Kashmir, a famous Brahmin, has 
of his own account undertaken the task of explaining 
the Veda and committing it to writing. He has taken 
on himself a task from which everybody else would 
have recoiled, but he carried it out because he was 
afraid that the Veda might be forgotten and entirely 
vanish out of the memories of men, since he observed 
that the characters of men grew worse and worse, and 


that they did not care much for virtue, nor even for 

There are certain passages in the Veda which, as they 
maintain, must not be recited within dwelliugs, since 
they fear that they would cause an abortion both to 
women and the cattle. Therefore they step out into the 
open field to recite them there. There is hardly a single 
verse free from such and similar minatory injunctions. 

As we have already mentioned, the books of the 
Hindus are metrical compositions like the Rajaz poems 
of the Arabs. Most of them are composed in a metre 
called sloka. The reason of this has already been 
explained. Galenus also prefers metrical composi- 
tion, and says in his book Kara yevi-j : "The single 
signs which denote the weights of medicines become 
corrupt by being copied ; they are also corrupted by the 
wanton mischief of some envious person. Therefore it 
is quite right that the books of Damocrates on medi- 
cines should be preferred to others, and that they should 
gain fame and praise, since they are written in a Greek 
metre. If all books were written in this way it would 
be the best ; " the fact being that a prose text is much 
more exposed to corruption than a metrical one. 

The Veda, however, is not composed in this common 
metre, sloka, but in another. Some Hindus say that 
no one could compose anything in the same metre. 
However, their scholars maintain that this is possible 
indeed, but that they refrain from trying it merely from 
veneration for the Veda. 

According to their tradition, Vyasa divided it into The four 
four parts : Rigveda, Ycy'urvcda, Sd7naveda, and Athar- vyasaand 
vanaveda. vedas. 

Vyasa had four sisJiya, i.e. pupils. He taught a sepa- 
rate Veda to each of them, and made him carry it in 
his memory. They are enumerated in the same order 
as the four parts of the Veda : Paila^ Vaisampdyana, 
Jaimini, Suma7itu. 


Each of the four parts has a peculiar kind of recita- 
tion. The first is Rigveda, consisting of metrical com- 
positions called ric, which are of different lengths. It 
is called Rigveda as being the totality of the ric. 
It treats of the sacrifices to the fire, and is recited in 
three different ways. First, in a uniform manner of 
reading, just as every other book is read. Secondly, in 
such a way that a pause is made after every single 
word. Thirdly, in a method which is the most meri- 
torious, and for which plenty of reward in heaven is 
promised. First you read a short passage, each word 
of which is distinctly pronounced ; then you repeat it 
together with a part of that which has not yet been 
recited. Next you recite the added portion alone, and 
then you repeat it together with the next part of that 
which has not yet been recited, &c., &c. Continuing to 
do so till the end, you will have read the whole text twice. 

The Yajurveda is composed of kdndin. The word 
is a derivative noun, and means the totality of the 
kdndin. The difference between this and the Rigveda 
is that it may be read as a text connected by the rules 
of Samdhi, which is not allowed in the case of Rigveda. 
The one as well as the other treats of works connected 
with the fire and the sacrifices. 

I have heard the following story about the reason 
why the Rigveda cannot be recited as a text connected 
by the rules of Samdhi : — 

Yajnavalkya stayed with his master, and his master 
had a Brahmin friend who wanted to make a journey. 
Therefore he asked the master to send somebody to his 
house to perform there during his absence the rites to 
Homa, i.e. to his fire, and to prevent it from being 
extinguished. Now the master sent his pupils to the 
house of his friend one after the other. So it came to 
be the turn of Yajnavalkya, who was beautiful to look 
at and handsomely dressed. When he began the work 
which he was sent for, in a place where the wife of the 


absent -^nau was present, she conceived an aversion to 
his fine attire, and Yajnavalkya became aware of it, 
thongli she concealed it. On having finished, he took 
the water to sprinkle it over the head of the woman, 
for this holds with them the place of the blowing after 
an incantation, since blowing is disliked by them and 
considered as something impure. Then the woman said, 
" Sprinkle it over this column." So he did, and at once 
the column became green. Now the woman repented 
having missed the blessing of his pious action ; there- 
fore on the following day she went to the master, asking 
him to send her the same pupil whom he had sent the 
day before. Yajnavalkya, however, declined to go 
except in his turn. No urging had any effect upon 
him ; he did not mind the wrath of his master, but 
simply said, " Take away from me all that yon have 
taught me." And scarcely had he spoken the word, 
when on a sudden he had forgotten all he knew before. 
Now he turned to the Sun and asked him to teach him 
the Veda. The Sun said, " How is that possible, as I 
must perpetually wander, and you are incapable of 
doing the same ? " But then Yajnavalkya clung to 
the chariot of the Sun and began to learn the Veda 
from him ; but he was compelled to interrupt the 
recitation here and there on account of the irregularity 
of the motion of the chariot. 

The Samaveda treats of the sacrifices, command- Sama^eda 

, ., . . -r • • T • Ti and Athur- 

ments, and prohibitions, it is recited m a tone like vanaveda. 
a chant, and hence its name is derived, because sdman 
means the sweetness of recitation. The cause of this 
kind of recital is, that Narayana, when he appeared on * 

earth in the shape of Vamana, and came to the king 
Bali, changed himself into a Brahman and began to 
recite the Samaveda with a touching melody, by 
which he exhilarated the king, in consequence of which 
there happened to him the well-known story. 

The Atharvanaveda is as a text connected by the 
VOL. I. I 


rules of Saiiidhi. It does not consist of the same com- 
positions as the Rig and Yajnr Vedas, but of a third 
kind called bhara. It is recited accordiug to a melody 
with a nasal tone. This Veda is less in favour with 
the Hindus than the others. It likewise treats of the 
sacrifices to the fire, and contains injunctions regarding 
the dead and what is to be doue with them. 

List of the As to the Purfiiias, we first mention that tlie word 

uicinas. means ^rs^, eternal. There are eighteen Puranas, most 

of them called by the names of animals, human or 

Page 63. angelic beings, because they contain stories about them, 
or because the contents of the book refer in some way 
to them, or because the book consists of answers which 
the creature whose name forms the title of the book 
has given to certain questions. 

The Puranas are of human origin, composed by the 
so-called Rishis. In the following I give a list of their 
names, as I have heard them, and committed them to 
writing from dictation : — 

1 . Adi-purdua, i.e. the first. 

2. Matsya-purdna, i.e. the fish. 

3. KHrma-purdna, i.e. the tortoise. 

4. Vardha-purdiia, i.e. the boar. 

5. Narasimha-purdna, i.e. a human being with a lion's head. 

6. Vdmana-pturdna, i.e. the dwarf. 

7. Vdyu-purdna, i.e. the wind. 

8. Nanda-purdna, i.e. a servant of Mahadeva. 

9. Skanda-purdna, i.e. a son of Mahadeva. 

10. Aditya-purdna, i.e. the sun. 

11. Soma-purdna, i.e. the moon. 

12. Sdmha-purdna, i.e. the son of Vishnu. 

13. Brahmdnda-i'Urdna, i.e. heaven. 

14. Mdrkandeya-purdna, i.e. a great Kishi. 

15. Tdrlshya-purdna, i.e. the bird Garuda. 

16. Vishnu -]}urdna, i.e. Narayana. 

17. Brahma-purdna, i.e. the nature charged with the preserva- 

tion of the world. 

18. Bhavishya-purdna, i.e. future things. 

Of all this literature I have only seen portions of the 
Matsya, Aditya, and Vayu Puranas. 


Another somewhat different list of the Parrinas has 
been read to me from the Vishnu-Fur ana. I give it 
here in extenso, as in all questions resting on tradition 
it is the duty of an author to give those traditions as 
completely as possible : — 

1. Brahma. 

2. Padma, i.e. the red lotus. 

3. Vishnu. 

4. S'iva, i.e. Mahadeva. 

5. Bhdgavata, i.e. Vasudeva. 

6. Ndrada, i.e. the sou of Brahma. 

7. MdrTcandeya. 

8. Ayni, i.e. the fire. 

9. Bhavishya, i.e. the future. 

10. Brahmavaivaj'ta, i.e. the wind. 

11. Linga, i.e. an image of the uloola of Mahadeva. 

1 2. Vardha. 

13. Skanda. 

14. Vdviana. 

15. Kurma. 

16. Matsya, i.e. the fish. 

17. Garuda, i.e. the bird ou which Vishnu rides. 

18. Brahmdnda. 

These are the names of the Puranas according to 
the Vishnu- Pur ana. 

The book Sniriti is derived from the Veda. It con- a list 
tains commandments and prohibitions, and is composed books. 
by the following twenty sons of Brahman : — 

1. Apastamba. 

2. Parasara. 
^ Satatajja. 

4. Samvarta. 

5. Daksha. 

■ 6. Vasishtha. 

7. Angiras. 

8. Yama. 

9. Vishnu. 
10. Manu. 

11. Yajnavalkya 

12. Atri. 

13. Harita. 

14. Likhita. 

15. Sankha. 

16. Gautama. 

17. Vrihaspati. 

18. Katyayana. 

19. Vyasa. 

20. Usanas. 

Besides, the Hindus have books about the jurispru- 
dence of their religion, on theosophy, on ascetics, on 
the process of becoming god and seeking liberation 


from the world, as, e.g. the book composed by Gaiida 
the anchorite, which goes by his name ; the book Sdm- 
IJiya, composed by Kapila,on divine subjects ; the book 
of Fataujali, on the search for liberation and for the 
union of the soul with the object of its meditation ; 
the book Nydyctbhdslid, composed by Ivapila, on the 
Veda and its interpretation, also showing that it has 
been created, and distinguishing within the Veda be- 
tween such injunctions as are obligatory only in cer- 
tain cases, and those which are obligatory in general ; 
further, the book Mimdmsd, composed by Jaimini, on 
the same subject ; the book LaulMyata, composed by 
Brihaspati, treating of the subject that in all investiga- 
tions we must exclusively rely upon the apperception of 
Page 64. the senses ; the book Agastyamata, composed by Agastya, 
treating of the subject that in all investigations we 
must use the apperception of the senses as well as tradi- 
tion ; and the book Vishnu-dharma. The word dharma 
means reward, but in general it is used for religion ; so 
that this title means Tlie religion of God, who in this 
case is understood to be Narayana. Further, there are 
the books of the six pupils of Vyasa, viz. Devala, Siikra, 
Bhdrgava, Vrihcispati, Ydjncivcdkya, and Maim. The 
Hindus have numerous books about all the branches 
of science. How could anybody know the titles of all 
of them, more especially if he is not a Hindu, but a 
foreigner ? 

Besides, they have a book which they hold in such 
veneration that they firmly assert that everything which 
occurs in other books is found also in this book, but not 
all which occurs in this book is found in other books. 
It is called Bhdrata, and composed by Vyasa the son 
of Parasara at the time of the great war between the 
children of Pandu and those of Kuru. The title itself 
gives an indication of those times. The book has 
100,000 Slokas in eighteen parts, each of which is called 
Parvan. Here we give the list of them : — 



1. Sahhd-parva, i.e. the king's dwelling. 

2. Arcmya, i.e. going out into the open field, meaning the 

exodus of the children of Pcindu. 

3. Virata, i.e. the name of a king in whose realm the}^ dwelt 

during the time of their concealment. 

4. Udyoga^ i.e. the preparing for battle. 

5. Bhtshma. 

6. Drona the Brahmin. 

7. Karna the son of the Sun. 

8. S'alya the brother of Duryodhana, some of the greatest heroes 

who did the fighting, one always coming forward after 
his predecessor had been killed. 

9. Gadd, i.e. the club. 

10. Sauptika, i.e. the killing of the sleepers, when Asvatthaman 

the son of Drona attacked the city of Paiicala during 
the night and killed the inhabitants. 

11. Jala-praddniha, i.e. the successive drawing of water for the 

dead, after people have washed off the impurity caused 
by the touching of the dead. 

12. Stri, i.e. the lamentations of the women. 

13. S'dnti, containing 24,000 Slokas on eradicating hatred from 

the heart, in four parts : 
(i.) lidjadharma, on the reward of the kings. 
(2.) Ddnadharma, on the reward for almsgiving. 
(3.) Apaddharma, on the reward of those who are in need and 

(4.) MoJcshadharma, on the reward of him who is liberated 

from the world. 

14. Ah'amedha, i.e. the sacrifice of the horse which is sent out 

together with an army to wander through the world. 
Then they proclaim in public that it belongs to the king 
of the world, and that he who does not agree thereto is to 
come forward to fight. The Brahman s follow the horse, 
and celebrate sacrifices to the fire in those places where 
the horse drops its dung. 

15. Mausala, i.e. the fighting of the Yadavas, the tribe of Vasu- 

deva, among themselves. 

16. Asramavdsa, i.e. leaving one's own country. 

17. Prasthdna, i.e. quitting the realm to seek liberation. 

18. Svargdrohana, i.e. journeying towards Paradise. 

These eighteen parts are followed by another one 
which is called Harivamsa-Parvan, which contains the 
traditions relating to Vasudeva. 

In this book there occur passages which, like riddles, 
admit of manifold interpretations. As to the reason of Page 65. 


this the Hindus relate the following story : — Vyasa 
asked Brahman to procure him somebody who might 
write for him the Bhdrata from his dictation. Now he 
intrusted with this task his son Vinayaka, who is re- 
presented as an idol with an elephant's head, and made 
it obligatory on him never to cease from writing. At 
the same time Vyasa made it obligatory on him to 
write only that which he understood. Therefore Vyasa, 
in the course of his dictation, dictated such sentences 
as compelled the writer to ponder over them, and thereby 
Vyasa gained time for resting awhile. 

( 135 ) 



The two sciences of sframmar and metrics are auxiliary List of 

o •/ books on 

to the other sciences. Of the two, the former, grammar, grammar. 
holds the first place in their estimate, called vydkarana, 
i.e. the law of the correctness of their speech and ety- 
mological rules, by means of which they acquire an 
eloquent and classical style both in writing and reading. 
We Muslims cannot learn anything of it, since it is a 
branch coming from a root which is not within our 
grasp — I mean the language itself. That which I have 
been told as to titles of books on this science is the 
following : — 

1. Aindra, attributed to ludra, the head of the angels. 

2. Cdndra, composed by Candra, one of the red-robe-wearing 

sect, the followers of Buddha. 

3. S'dkata, so called by the name of its author. His tribe, 

too, is called by a name derived from the same word, viz. 

4. Pdnini, so called from its author. 

5. Kdtantra, composed by Sarvavarman. 

6. S'aiidevavritti, composed by Sasideva. 

7. Durgavivritti. 

8. S'ishyahitdvritti, composed by Ugrabhuti. 

I have been told that the last-mentioned author was sbah Anan- 
the teacher and instructor of Shah Anandapclla, the son ms 'master 
of Jayapala, who ruled in our time. After having com- 
posed the book he sent it to Kashmir, but the people 
there did not adopt it, being in such things haughtily con- 
servative. Now he complained of this to the Shah, and 



the Shah, in accordance with the duty of a pupil towards 
his master, promised him to make him attain his wish. 
So he gave orders to send 200,000 dirham and presents 
of a similar value to Kashmir, to be distributed among 
those who studied the book of his master. The con- 
sequence was that they all rushed upon the book, and 
would not copy any other grammar but this one, show- 
ing themselves in the baseness of their avarice. The 
book became the fashion and highly prized. 

Of the origin of grammar they give the following 
account : — One of their kings, called Samalvahana, i.e. 
in the classical language, Satavahana, was one day in a 
pond playing with his wives, when he said to one of 
them " Mdudakcviii dehi," i.e. do not sprinkle the water on 
me. The woman, however, understood it as if he had said 
modakam dehi, i.e. hri7ig siveetmeats. So she went away 
and brought him sweetmeats. And when the king 
disapproved of her doing so, she gave him an angry 
reply, and used coarse language towards him. Now he 
was deeply offended, and, in consequence, as is their 
custom, he abstained from all food, and concealed him- 
self in some corner until he was called upon by a sage, 
who consoled him, promising him that he would teach 
people grammar and the inflexions of the language. 
Thereupon the sage went off to Mahfideva, praying, 
praising, and fasting devoutly. Mahadeva appeared to 
him, and communicated to him some few rules, the like 
of which Abul'aswad Addu'ali has given for the Arabic 
language. The god also promised to assist him in the 
further development of this science. Then the sage 
returned to the king and taught it to him. This was 
the beginning of the science of gi-ammar. 

Grammar is followed by another science, called 
chandas, i.e. the metrical form of poetry, corresponding 
to our meti'ics — a science indispensable to them, since 
all their books are in verse. By composing their books 
in metres they intend to facilitate their being learned 


by heart, and to prevent people in all questions of 
science ever recurring to a written text, save in a case 
of bare necessity. For they think that the mind of 
man sympathises with everything in which there is 
symmetry and order, and has an aversion to everything 
in which there is no order. Therefore most Hindus are 
passionately fond of their verses, and always desirous 
of reciting them, even if they do not understand the 
meaning of the words, and the audience will snap their 
fingers in token of joy and applause. They do not want 
prose compositions, although it is much easier to under- 
stand them. 

Most of their books are composed in Sloka, in which 
I am now exercising myself, being occupied in compos- 
ing for the Hindus a translation of the books of Euclid 
and of the Almagest, and dictating to them a treatise on 
the construction of the astrolabe, being simply guided 
herein by the desire of spreading science. If the Hin- 
dus happen to get some book which does not yet exist 
among them, they set at work to change it into Slokas, 
which are rather unintelligible, since the metrical form 
entails a constrained, affected style, which will become 
apparent when we shall speak of their method of ex- 
pressing numbers. And if the verses are not sufficiently 
affected, their authors meet with frowning faces, as 
having committed something like mere prose, and then 
they will feel extremely unhappy. God will do me jus- 
tice in what I say of them. 

The first who invented this art were Piii^fala and Books on 

, *-" metrics. 

c::^i.>- (? C L T). The books on the subject are nu- 
merous. The most famous of them is the book Gaisita 
(?G — AI — S — T), so called from its author, famous to 
such a degree that even the whole science of metrics 
has been called by this name. Other books are that of 
Mrigalanchana, that of Pihgala, and that of J^'uJjl (? U 
(Au) — L — Y — A — N — D). I, however, have not seen 
any of these books, nor do I know much of the chapter 


of the Brahma-siddhdnta which treats of metrical cal- 
culations, and therefore I have no claim to a thorough 
knowledge of the laws of their metrics. Nevertheless, 
I do not think it right to pass by a subject of which I 
have only a smattering, and I shall not postpone speak- 
ing of it until I shall have thoroughly mastered it. 

In counting the syllables (ganachandas) they use 
similar figures to those used by Alkhalil Ibn Ahmad and 
our metricians to denote the consonant without vowel and 
the consonant with voiuel, viz. these two signs, | and >, 
the former of which is called laghu, i.e. light ; the latter, 
guru, i.e. heavy. In measuring (mdtrdchandas), the guru 
is reckoned double of a laghu, and its place may be 
filled by two laghu. 

Further, they have a syllable which they call long 
(diiy/ha), the measure or prosody of which is equal to 
that of a g2cr2i. This, I think, is a syllable with a 
long vowel (like kd, Jet, kit). Here, however, I must 
confess that up to the present moment I have not 
been able to gain a clear idea of the nature of both 
laghu and guric, so as to be able to illustrate them 
by similar elements in Arabic. However, I am in- 
clined to think that laghu does not mean a consonant 
tvithout vowel, wot guru a consonant with voivel, but that, 
on the contrary, laghu means a consonant with a short 
vowel (e.g. ka, Id, ku), and guru means the same with 
a vowelless consonant (e.g. kat, kit, kut), like an element 
in Arabic metrics called Sahah {i.e. — or ^^, a long 
syllable the place of which may be taken by two short 
ones). That which makes me doubt as to the first- 
mentioned definition of Iccghu is this circumstance, that 
the Hindus use many laghu one after the other in an 
uninterrupted succession. The Arabs are not capable 
of pronouncing two vowelless consonants one after the 
other, but in other languages this is possible. The Per- 
sian metricians, for instance, call such a consonant 
moved hy a light vowel (i.e. pronounced with a sound like 


the Hebrew Schwa). But, in any case, if such conso- 
nants are more than three in number, they are most 
difficult, nay, even impossible to pronounce ; whilst, on 
the other hand, there is not the slightest difficulty in 
pronouncing an uninterrupted series of short syllables 
consisting of a consonant with a short vowel, as when 
you say in Arabic, " BadamiJca kamathali sifatika wafa- 
muJca hisdati shafatika" {i.e. Thy body is like thy 
description, and thy mouth depends upon the width of 
thy lip). Further, although it is difficult to pronounce Page 67. 
a vowelless consonant at the beginning of a word, most 
nouns of the Hindus begin, if not exactly with vowel- 
less consonants, still with such consonants as have only 
a Schwa-like vowel-sound to follow them. If such a 
consonant stands at the begiuniug of a verse, they drop 
it in counting, since the law of the guru demands that 
in it the vowelless consonant shall not irrecede hut fol- 
low the vowel {Ica-t, ki-t, ku-t). 

Further, as our people have composed out of the feet Defimtiou 

(N . -, . , . , of mdtrd. 

Aj^[i\j certain schemes or types, according to which 

verses are constructed, and have invented signs to 
denote the component parts of a foot, i.e. the consonant 
with and witliout a vowel, in like manner also the 
Hindus use certain names to denote the feet which are 
composed of lagliu and guru, either the former preced- 
ing and the latter following or vice versa, in such a 
way, however, that the measure must the 
same, whilst the number of syllables may vary. By 
these names they denote a certain conventional prosodic 
unity {i.e. cev tarn feet). By measure, I mean that laghu 
is reckoned = one mcUrd, i.e. measure, and guru^t'wo 
mdtrd. If they represent a foot in writing, they only 
express the measure of the syllables, not their number, 
as, e.g. (in Arabic) a double consonant {kka) is counted 
as a consonant without vowel plus a consonant ivith 
vowel, and a consonant followed by Tanwin (l.'un) is 
counted as a consonant with a vowel plus a consonant 


without vowel, whilst in writing both are represented 
as one and the same thing {i.e. by the sign of the con- 
sonant in question). 

Taken alone by themselves, laghu and guru are 
called by various names : the former, la, kcdi, rupa, 
cdmara, and graha ; the latter, ga, nivra, and a half 
amsaka. The latter name shows that a complete 
amsaka is equal to two gunc or their equivalent. These 
names they have invented simply to facilitate the ver- 
sification of their metrical books. For this purpose 
they have invented so many names, that one may fit 
into the metre if others will not. 

The feet arising out of combinations of laghti and 
giC7m are the following : — 

Twofold both in number and measure is the foot 1 1, 
i.e. two syllables and two mdt7'il. 

Twofold in number, not in measure, are the feet, | < 
and < I ; in measure they are = three mdtrd \ \ \ (bnt, 
in number, only two syllables). 

The second foot < | (a trochee) is called krittikd. 

The quaternary feet are in each book called by dif- 
ferent names : 

< < paksha, i.e. the half month. 
1 1 < jvalana, i.e. the fire. 

I < I madhya (? madhu). 

< I I parvata, i.e. the mountain, also called hdra and rasa. 
I 1 1 1 ffhana, i.e. the cube. 

The feet consisting of five mdtrd have manifold 
forms ; those of them which have special names are the 
following : — 

|< < hastin, i.e. the elephant. I < < | (? lacuna). 
<|< i-ama, i.e. the wish. | ||| < husuma. 

A foot consisting of six mdttrct is < < < . 
Some people call these feet by the names of the 
chess figures, viz. : 

jvalana = the elephant. i 2')arvata = the pawn. 

madhya = the tower. | ghana = the horse. 































In a lexicoi^i-apbical work to which the author onthear- 

^ ^ raiiKemeiit 

c>« Jb ('^ Haribhatta) has given his own name, the feet Qtiotation' 

^■^ from Hari- 

composed of three layhit or gurio are called by single ^^^tta. 
consonants, which in the following diagram are written 
on their left : — 

sixfold {i.e. containing six mdtrd). 
(? lacuna). 
threefold {i.e. containing three mdtrd). 

By means of these signs the author teaches how to 
construct these eight feet by an inductive method (a 
kind of algebraic permutation), saying : 

"Place one of the two kinds (gunc and lagliu) in 
the first line unmixed (that would be < < <, if we Page 68. 
begin with a guru). Then mix it with the second 
kind, and place one of this at the beginning of the 
second line, whilst the two other elements are of the 
first kind (| < < ). Then place this element of admix- 
ture in the middle of the third line (<|<), and lastly 
at the end of the fourth line (< <|). Then you have 
finished the first half. 

'' Further, place the second kind in the lowest line, 
unmixed (| | |), and mix up with the line above it one 
of the first kind, placing it at the beginning of the line 
(< I I), then in the middle of the next following line 
(I < I), and lastly at the end of the next following line 
(I I <). Then the second half is finished, and all the 
possible combinations of three mdtra have been ex- 

I- < < < ^ I 5- I I < ^ 

First half. , - Second half. 

3- < I < I T- < \ \ \ 

4. < < I ^ 8. I I 1 i 

This system of composition or permutation is correct, 


but his calculation showing how to find that place 
which every single foot occupies in this series of per- 
mutations is not in accordance with it. For he says : 

"Place the numeral 2 to denote each element of a 
foot {i.e. both guru and laghu), once for all, so that 
every foot is represented by 2, 2, 2. Multiply the 
left (number) by the middle, and the product by the 
right one. If this multiplier (i.e. this number of the 
right side) is a laghu, then leave the product as it is ; 
but if it is a gicru, subtract one from the product." 

The author exemplifies this with the sixth foot, i.e. 
I < I. He multiplies 2 by 2, and from the product (4) 
he subtracts I. The remaining 3 he multiplies by the 
third 2, and he gets the product of 6. 

This, however, is not correct for most of the feet, and 
I am rather inclined to believe that the text of the 
manuscript is corrupt. 

The proper order of the feet would accordingly be the 
following : 











i ^* 








1 6. 




















The midure of the first line (No. I.) is sucb that one 
kind always follows the other. In the second line 
(No. II.) two of one kind are followed by two of the 
other ; and in the third line (No. III.) four of one kind 
are followed by four of the other. 

Then the author of the above-mentioned calculation 
goes on to say : " If the first element of the foot is a 
guint, subtract one before you multiply. If the multi- 
plier is a guru, subtract one from the product. Thus 
you find the place which a foot occupies in this order." 

As the Arabic verse is divided into two halves or 
hemistichs by the drild, i.e. the last foot of the first 



hemistich, and the darh, i.e. the last foot of the second 
hemistich, in like manner the verses of the Hindus are 
divided into two halves, each of which is called foot 
(pdda). The Greeks, too, call them feet (lacuna), — 
those words which are composed of it, o-vWd/S-q, and 
the consonants with or without vowels, with long, short, 
or doubtful vowels. 

The verse is divided into three, or more commonly onthe 
into four pdda. Sometimes they add a fifth pdda in Arya. 
the middle of the verse. The yddas have no rhyme, 
but there is a kind of metre, in which the i and 2 
p)ddas end with the same consonant or syllable as if 
rhyming on it, and also the p)ddas 3 and 4 end with 
the same consonant or syllable. This kind is called 
Aryd. At the end of the pdda a laghu may become a Page 69. 
(jum, though in general this metre ends with a laghu. 

The different poetical works of the Hindus contain 
a great number of metres. In the metre of 5 j^dda, 
the fifth pdda is placed between pddas 3 and 4. The 
names of the metres differ according to the number of 
syllables, and also according to the verses which fol- 
low. For they do not like all the verses of a long 
poem to belong to one and the same metre. They use 
many metres in the same poem, in order that it should 
appear like an embroidered piece of silk. 

The construction of the four p)ddas in the ionv-pdda 
metre is the following : — 


< < 

paksha = i aiiisaka. 

< < 



< 1 1 


< 1 1 


1 1 < 


< < 


t— 1 

1— i 

< < 


< < 



1 1 < 


1 l< 





i < 1 


1 < 1 




< 1 1 


< 1 1 



< < 


1 I < 



This is a representation of a species of their metres, 
called Skandha, containing four pcida. It consists of 
two halves; and each half has eight amsaJca. 

Of the single arhkika, the ist, 3d, and 5th can never 
be a madhya, i.e. < |, and the 6th must always be 
either a madhya or a rjhana. If this condition is adhered 
to, the other aihsakas may be anything at all, just as 
accident or the fancy of the poet wills it. However, 
the metre must always be complete, neither more nor 
less. Therefore, observing the rules as to the formation 
of certain arhsakas in the single pddas, we may repre- 
sent the four j^ddas in the following manner : — 

Padal. < < < I I I I <. 

Pada II. < < I I < I < I < I I < < . 

Pada III. <<<!<<. 

r.gc 70. Pada IV. < < | < < | < | < | | | | < . 

According to this pattern the verse is composed. 
Arab and If you represent an Arabic metre by these signs of 

tiouofa'' the Hindus, you will find that they mean something 
entirely different from what the Arabic signs mean 
which denote a consonant luitli a short vowel and a 
consonant without a vowel. (The Arabic sign \ means 
a consonant without a vowel ; the Hindu sign | means 
a short syllable ; the Arabic sign o means a consonant 
followed by a short vowel ; the Hindu sign < means a 
long syllable.) As an example, we give a representation 
of the regular complete Khafif metre, representing each 
foot by derivations of the root ^Ui. 

Mdrum Khafif. 
represented by derivations of the root ^J^. 

(2.) loloolo loo lolo loloolo, 

represented by Arabic signs. 

(3.) <<|< <l<< <<|<, 

represented by the signs of the Hindus. 



We give the latter signs in an inverted order, since 
the Hindus read from the left to the right. 

I have already once pleaded as my excuse, and do so 
here a second time, that my slender knowledge of this 
science does not enable me to give the reader a complete 
insight into the subject. Still I take the greatest pains 
with it, though I am well aware that it is only very 
little I can give. 

The name Vritta applies to each iour-jjdda metre in On the 
which the signs of both the prosody and the number of vritta. 
the syllables are like each other, according to a certain 
correspondence of the pddas among themselves, so that 
if you know one j^dda, you know also the other ones, 
for they are like it. Further, there is a law that a pdda 
cannot have less than four syllables, since a pdda with 
less does not occur in the Yeda. For the same reason 
the smallest number of the syllables of a pdda is four, 
the largest twenty-six. In consequence, there are 
twenty-three varieties of the Vritta metre, which we 
shall here enumerate : — 

1. The jpdda has four heavy syllables {guru), and here you can- 

not put two larjhu in the place of one guru. 

2. The nature of the second kind of the pdda is not clear to me, 

so I omit it. 

3. This fdda is built of 

ghana + palsha. 

INI << 

4. = 2 guru + 2 laghu + 3 guru. 

<< II << < 

It would be better to describe this 2)dda as = palsha + 
jvalana + p)(il'sh(t. 

rage 71 

:. = 2 l-rittihx 

-i- jvalana 

+ palsha. 

<!< 1 


< < 

>. := ghana + 

madhya -f 




< < 

'. = ghana + 

jyarvoia + 





VOL. I. 




9- = 



paksha , 

< < 


< < 







II. = palsha, madhya, 




< < 











2 jvalana, 







hast in. 


2 guru. 
< < 

< < 




< < 

2 hastin. 

kusnma, madhya, jvalana. 

Ilk !<! Il< 

hastin, paksha, parvata, kusuma, parvata, lar/hu, guru. 

\<< << <|| Ilk <|| I < 

: 2 paksha, 
< < < < 



kusuma, 2 kdma, giiru. 

\\\< <|< <|< < 

[6. r. 


paksha, parvata, kdma, kusxima, paksha, laghu, guru. 
<< <\\ <|< |||< << I < 

= 2 paksha, parvata, ghana, jvalana,, paksha, kusuma. 

<< << <\\ nil Ik << Ilk 

= 2 paksha, parvata, ghana, jvalana, 2 kdma, guru. 

<< << <\\ I III l|< <!< <|< < 

19. = 

< < 

21. = 

< < 

22. = 

< < 

23- = 

< < 

guru, 2 paksha, parvata, ghana, jvalana, 2 kdma, guru. 

<<<<<<!! III! ||< <1< <!< < 

= i\pjaksha, jvalana, madliya, p)a.ksha, 2 madhya, guru. 

<<<<<< |l< !<! << l<l|<| < 

= ^paksha, T, jvalana, 2 madhya, guru. 

<<<<<< ll< |lv ||< |<|l<| < 

= 4. paksha, knstima , madhya, jvalana, 2 madhya, guru. 

<<<<<< |||< |<| ||< I <l| <| < 

= S guru, 10 laghu, kdma, jvalana, laghu, guru. 

<<<<<< 1111111111 <!< ||< I < 


We have givTn such a lengthy account, though it be 
only of scanty use, in order that the reader may see 
for himself the example of an accumulation of laghus, 
which shows that laghu means a consonant folloiocd hy 
a short vowel, not a consonant without a vowel. Further, 
he will thereby learn the way in which they represent 
a metre and the method of their scanning a verse. 
Lastly, he will learn that Alkhalil Ibn Ahmad exclu- 
sively drew from his own genius when he invented the 
Arabic metrics, though, possibly, he may have heard, 
as some people think, that the Hindus use certain 
metres in their poetry. If we here take so much 
trouble with Indian metrics, we do it for the purpose 
of fixing the laws of the Sloka, since most of their 
books are composed in it. 

The Sloka belongs to the iouY-imda metres. Each TLeory of 
pcicla has eight syllables, which are different in all four *'^^ ^^°^'^' 
pddas. The last syllable of each of the four pddas 
must be the same, viz. a guru. Further, the fifth 
syllable in each|j«<j?a must always be laghu, the sixth 
syllable guru. The seventh syllable must be laghu in 
the second and fourth pctda, guru in the first and third 
pddas. The other syllables are entirely dependent 
upon accident or the writer's fancy. 

In order to show in what way the Hindus use Quotation 
arithmetic in their metrical system, we give in the magupta. 
following a quotation from Brahmagupta : " The first 
kind of poetry is gdyatri, a metre consisting of two 
pddas. If we now suppose that the number of the 
syllables of this metre may be 24, and that the smallest 
number of the syllables of one pdda is 4, we describe 
the two ^9(^f?a.s by 4 - 4, representing their smallest 
possible number of syllables. As, however, their largest 
possible number is 24, we add the difference between 
these 4 — 4 and 24, i.e. 16, to the right-side number, 
and get 4 -- 20. If the metre had three 7:>(^(r/rts, it 
would be represented by 4 -f 4 + 16. The right-side 



pdda is always distinguished from the others and called 
by a separate name ; but the preceding pddas also are 
connected, so as to form one whole, and likewise called 
by a separate name. If the metre had four pddas, it 
would be represented by 4 + 4 + 4 -I 12. 

" If, however, the poet does not use the 2)dd(:(s of 4, i.e. 
the smallest possible number of syllables, and if we 
want to know the number of combinations of the 24 
syllables which may occur in a two-pdda metre, we 
write 4 to the left and 20 to the right ; we add i to 4, 
again i to the sum, &c. ; we subtract i from 20, again 
I from the remainder, &c. ; and this we continue until 
we get both the same numbers with which we com- 
menced, the small number in the line which commenced 
with the greater number, and the greater number in 
the line which commenced with the small number. 
See the following scheme : — 




19 1 


17 1 





1 1 














1 20 


The number of these combinations is iy,i.e. the dif- 
ference between 4 and 20 plus i . 

" As regards the thr ee-p)dda metre with the presup- 
posed number of syllables, i.e. 24, its first species is 



that in which all three pddas have the smallest pos- 
sible number of syllables, i.e. 4 + 4 + 16. 

"The right-side number and the middle number we 
write down as we have done with the pddas of the two- 
pdda metre, and we make with them the same calcula- 
tion as we have done above. Besides, we add the left- 
side number in a separate column, but do not make it 
undergo any changes. See the following scheme : — 
















■ 4 







1 1 





: • 4 












"This gives the number of 13 permutations, but by 
changing the places of the numbers forwards and back- 
wards in the following method, the number may be 
increased sixfold, i.e. to 78 : — 

"I. The right-side number keeps its place; the two 
other numbers exchange their places, so that the middle 
number stands at the left side ; the left-side number 
occupies the middle : — 












13 &c. 

"II.-IIL The right-side number is placed in the 
middle between the other two numbers, which first 



keep their original places, and then exchange them 
with each other :■ — 



























" IV.-V. The right-side number is placed to the left, 
and the other two numbers first keep their original 
places, and then exchange them with each other : — 

I v. 


























"Because, further, the numbers of the syllables of a 
jydda rise like the square of 2, for after 4 follows 8, we 
may represent the syllables of the three 2}(^(das in this 
way : 8 + 8 + 8 ( =4 + 4 + 1 6). However, their arith- 
metical peculiarities follow another rule. The four- 
pcida metre follows the analogy of the three-jydda 

Of the above-mentioned treatise of Brahmagupta I 
have only seen a single leaf: it contains, no doubt, 
important elements of arithmetic. God affords help 


and sustains by his mercy, i.e. I hope one day to learn 
those things. As far as I can guess with regard to the 
literature of the Greeks, they used in then- poetry 
similar /e^^ to the Hind as ; for Galenus says in his book 
Kara y'^v-q : " The medicine prepared with saliva dis- page 73. 
covered by Menecrates has been described by Damo- 
crates in a poem composed in a metre consisting of 
three parts." 

( 152 ) 



Times un- 
to the 
progiess of 

On the 

The number of sciences is great, and it may be still 
greater if the public mind is directed towards them at 
sach times as they are in the ascendancy and in general 
favour with all, when people not only honour science 
itself, but also its representatives. To do this is, in the 
first instance, the duty of those who rule over them, of 
kings and princes. For they alone could free the minds 
of scholars from the daily anxieties for the necessities 
of life, and stimulate their energies to earn more fame 
and favour, the yearning for which is the pith and mar- 
row of human nature. 

The present times, however, are not of this kind. 
They are the very opposite, and therefore it is quite 
impossible that a new science or any new kind of 
research should arise in our days. What we have of 
sciences is nothing but the scanty remains of bygone 
better times. 

If a science or an idea has once conquered the whole 
earth, every nation appropriates part of it. So do also 
the Hindus. Their belief about the cyclical revolutions 
of times is nothing very special, but is simply in accord- 
ance with the results of scientific observation. 

The science of astronomy is the most famous among 
them, since the affairs of their religion are in various 
ways connected with it. If a man wants to gain the 
title of an astronomer, he must not only know scientific 


or mathematical astronomy, but also astrology. The 
book known among Muslims as Sindliiiid is called by 
them Siddhdnta, i.e. straight, not crooked nor changing. 
By this name they call every standard book on astro- 
nomy, even such books as, according to our opinion, 
do not come up to the mark of our so-called Zij, i.e. 
handbooks of mathematical astronomy. They have five 
Siddhantas : — 

I. SiXrya-siddhdnta, i.e. the Siddhanta of the sun, 
composed by Lata. 

II. Vasishtha-siddhdnta, so called from one of the 
stars of the Great Bear, composed by Vishnu candra. 

III. Fulisa-siddhdnta, so called from Paulisa, the 
Greek, from the city of Saintra, which I suppose to be 
Alexandria, composed by Pulisa. 

IV. Romaka-siddlidnta, so called from the Rum, i.e. 
the subjects of the Roman Empire, composed by 

V. BraJima-siddhdnta, so called from Brahman, com- 
posed by Brahmagupta, the son of Jishnu, from the 
town of Bhillamfda between Multan and Anhilwara, 
16 yojana from the latter place (?). 

The authors of these books draw from one and the 
same source, the Book Paithdmaha, so called from the 
first father, i.e. Brahman. 

Varahamihira has composed an astronomical hand- 
book of small compass called Panca-siddhdntilat, which 
name ought to mean that it contains the pith and mar- 
row of the preceding five Siddhantas. But this is not 
the case, nor is it so much better than they as to be 
called the most correct one of the five. So the name 
does not indicate anything but the fact that the number 
of Siddhantas is five. 

Brahmagupta says: "Many of the Siddhantas are 
Surya, others Indn, Pulisa, Romaka, Vasishtha, and 
Yavana, i.e. the Greeks ; and though the Siddhantas are 
many, they differ only in words, not in the subject- 


matter. He who studies them properly will find that 
they agree with each other." 

Up to the present time I have not been able to pro- 
cure any of these books save those of Pulisa and of 
Brahmagupta. I have commenced translating them, 
but have not yet finished my work. Meanwhile I shall 

Page 74. give here a table of contents of the Brahma-siddhcinta, 
which in any case will be useful and instructive. 

Contents of Conteuts of the twenty-four chapters of the Brahma- 

t\\ti Brahtna- • 7 77 /i , 

siddhdnta. siad/ianta — 

1 . On the nature of the globe and the figure of heaven 
and earth. 

2. On the revolutions of the planets ; on the calcula- 
tion of time, i.e. how to find the time for different longi- 
tudes and latitudes ; how to find the mean places of the 
planets ; how to find the sine of an arc. 

3. On the correction of the places of the planets. 

4. On three problems : how to find the shadow, the 
bygone portion of the day and the ascendens, and how 
to derive one from the other. 

5. On the planets becoming visible when they leave 
the rays of the sun, and their becoming invisible when 
entering them. 

6. On the first appearance of the moon, and about 
her two cusps. 

7. On the lunar eclipse. 

8. On the solar eclipse. 

9. On the shadow of the moon. 

10. On the meeting and conjunction of the planets. 

1 1. On the latitudes of the planets. 

12. A critical investigation for the purpose of dis- 
tinguishing between correct and corrupt passages in the 
texts of astronomical treatises and handbooks. 

13. On arithmetic; on plane measure and cognate 

14. Scientific calculation of the mean places of the 


15. Scientific calculation of the correction of the 
places of the planets. 

16. Scientific calculation of the three problems (v. 
chap. 4). 

17. On the deflection of eclipses. 

18. Scientific calculation of the appearance of the 
new moon and her two cusps. 

19. On Kuttaka, i.e. the pounding of a thing. The 
pounding of oil-producing substances is here compared 
with the most minute and detailed research. This chapter 
treats of algebra and related subjects, and besides it 
contains other valuable remarks of a more or less 
arithmetical nature. 

20. On the shadow. 

21. On the calculation of the measures of poetry and 
on metrics. 

22. On cycles and instruments of observation. 

23. On time and the four measures of time, the solar, 
the civil, the litnar, and the siderecd. 

24. About numeral notation in the metrical books of 
this kind. 

These, now, are twenty-four chapters, according to 
his own statement, but there is a twenty-fifth one, 
called Dhydnci-gro.ha-adhyaya, in which he tries to 
solve the problems by speculation, not by mathematical 
calculation. I have not enumerated it in this list, 
because the pretensions which he briugs forward in 
this chapter are repudiated by mathematics. I am 
rather inclined to think that that which he produces is 
meant to be the ratio metaphysica of all astronomical 
methods, otherwise how could any problem of this 
science be solved by anything save by mathematics ? 

Such books as do not reach the standard of a Sid- ou the 

Ti A ^ ^^ -\ rn tt- mi literature of 

dhanta are mostly called lantra or Karana. Ine Tantras and 
former means ruling under a governor, the latter means 
following, i.e. following behind the Siddhanta. Under 
governors they understand the Acdryas, i.e. the sages, 
anchorites, the followers of Brahman. 


There are two famous Tantras by Aryahhata and 
Balctbhadra, besides the Rasdyana-tantra by Bhdnu- 
yasas (?). About what Kasayana means we shall give a 
separate chapter (chap. xvii.). 

As for Karanas, there is one {lacmia) called by his 
name, besides the Karamt-ldianda-khdclyaka by Brah- 
magupta. The last word, khanda, means a kind of 
their sweetmeats. With regard to the reason why he 
gave his book this title, I have been told the follow- 

Sugriva, the Buddhist, had composed an astrono- 
mical handbook which he called Dadhi-sdgara, i.e. 
the sea of sour-milk ; and a pupil of his composed a 
book of the same kind which he called Kura-bahayd (?), 
i.e. a mountain of rice. Afterwards he composed an- 
other book which he called Lavaiia-mitshti, i.e. a hand- 
ful of salt. Therefore Brahmagupta called his book 
the Sweetmeat — kliddyctkci — in order that all kinds of 
victuals (sour-milk, rice, salt, &c.) should occur in the 
titles of the books on this science. 

The contents of the book Karctna-khanda-kliddyaka 
Page 75. rej^resent the doctrine of Aryabhata. Therefore Brah- 
magupta afterwards composed a second book, which he 
called Uttctra-khanda-khddyctka, i.e. the explanation of 
the Khcmda-kliddyaka. And this book is again followed 
by another one called Khandci-kliddyaka-tii^-pd (sic), of 
which I do not know whether it is composed by Brah- 
magupta or somebody else. It explains the reasons 
and the nature of the calculations employed in the 
Khandct-khddyaka. I suppose it is a work of Bala- 
bhadra's. ' 

Further, there is an astronomical handbook composed 
by Vijayanandin, the commentator, in the city of 
Benares, entitled Karana-tilaka, i.e. the blaze on the 
front of the Karanas ; another one by Vittesvara the 
son of Bhadatta(? Mihdatta), of the city of Nagarapura, 
called Karana-sdra, i.e. that which has been derived 


from the Karana ; another one, by Bbanuyasas (?), is 
called Karana-jKira-tilalca, which shows, as I am told, 
how the corrected places of the stars are derived from 
one another. 

There is a book by Utpala the Kashniirian called 
Bdhuoirdlcarana (?), i.e. breaking the Karanas ; and 
another called Karana-'pdta, i.e. killing the Karanas. 
Besides there is a book called Karana-ciXddmani of 
which I do not know the author. 

There are more books of the same kind with other 
titles, e.g. the great, composed by Manu, and the 
commentary by Utpala ; the small Mdnasa, an epitome 
of the former by Puncala (?), from the southern country ; 
Dasagttikd, by Aryabhata ; Arydshtasata, by the same ; 
Lokdnanda, so called from the name of the author ; Bhat- 
tild (?), so called from its author, the Brahman Bhattila. 
The books of this kind are nearly innumerable. 

As for astrological literature, each one of the follow- on astroio- 
ing authors has composed a so-called Saiiihitd, viz. : — 


ture, the 
Balabbadra. Sambitas. 



Samhitd means that ivhich is collected, books containing 
something of everything, e.g. forewarnings relating to a 
journey derived from meteorological occurrences ; pro- 
phecies regarding the fate of dynasties ; the knowledge 
of lucky and unlucky things ; prophesying from the 
lines of the hand ; interpretation of dreams, and taking 
auguries from the flight or cries of birds. For Hindu 
scholars believe in such things. It is the custom of 
their astronomers to propound in their Sailihitas also 
the whole science of meteorology and cosmology. 

Each one of the following authors has composed a TheJata- 
book, JdtaJca, i.e. book of nativities, viz. : — books on 

Parasara. Jivasarman. 

Satya. Mau, the Greek. 

Maiiittha. i 



Varfihamihira has composed two Jatakas, a small and 
a large one. The latter of these has been explained 
by Balabhadra, and the former I have translated into 
Arabic. Further, the Hindus have a large book on the 
science of the astrology of nativities called Sdrdvcdi, 
i.e. the chosen one, similar to the Vazidaj (= Persian 
fjuztda ?), composed by Kalyana-A'^arman, who gained 
hig-h credit for his scientific works. But there is 
another book still larger than this, which comprehends 
the whole of astrological sciences, called Yavana, i.e. 
belonging to the Greeks. 

Of Varahamihira there are several small books, e.r/. 
Shat-paricdsiM, Mty -six ch3.i^teT& on astrology; Rord- 
panca-hotriya (?), on the same subject. 

Travelling is treated of in the book Yogaydtrd and 
the book Tikani{?)-7jdtrd, marriage and marrying in the 
book Vivdha-patcda, architecture in the book {lacuna). 

The art of taking auguries from the flight or cries 
of birds, and of the foretelling by means of piercing a 
needle into a book, is propounded in the work called 
Srudham (? srotavya), which exists in three different 
copies. Mahadeva is said to be the author of the first, 
Yimalabuddhi the author of the second, and Baiigala the 
author of the third. Similar subjects are treated in the 
book Gudhdmana (?), i.e. the knowledge of the un- 
known, composed by Buddha, the originator of the sect 
of the red robe-wearers, the Shamanians ; and in the 
book Prasna Gudhdmana (?), i.e. questions of the science 
of the unknown, composed by Utpala. 

Besides, there are Hindu scholars of whom we know 
Page 76. the names, but not the title of any book of theirs, viz. : — 

Pradyumna. Sarasvata. 

Sangahila (Sriukhala ?). Piruvana (?). 

Divukara. | Devaklrtti. 

Pares vara. 1 Prithudaka-svamin. 


Medicine belongs to the same class of sciences as 
astronomv, but there is this difference, that the latter 


stands in close relation to the religion of the Hindus. 
They have a book called by the name of its author, 
i.c, CaraJca, which they consider as the best of their 
whole literature on medicine. According to their belief, 
Caraka was a Rishi in the last Dvapara-yuga, when 
his name was Agnivesa, but afterwards he was called 
Caraka, i.e. the intelligent one, after the first elements 
of medicine had been laid down by certain Rishis, the 
children of Sutra. These latter had received them from 
Indra, Indra from Asvin, one of the two physicians of 
the Devas, and Asvin had received them from Praja- 
pati, i.e. Brahman, the first father. This book has been 
translated into Arabic for the princes of the house of 
the Barmecides. 

The Hindus cultivate numerous other branches of onPanca- 
science and literature, and have a nearly boundless 
literature. I, however, could not comprehend it with 
my knowledge. I wish I could translate the book 
Pancatantra, known among us as the book of Kalila 
and Dimna. It is far spread in various languages, in 
Persian, Hindi, and Arabic — in translations of people 
who are not free from the suspicion of having altered 
the text. For instance, 'Abdallah Ibn Almukaffa has 
added in his Arabic version the chapter about Barzoya, 
with the intention of raising doubts in the minds of 
people of feeble religious belief, and to gain and prepare 
them for the propagation of the doctrines of the Mani- 
chieans. And if he is open to suspicion in so far as he 
has added something to the text which he had simply 
to translate, he is hardly free from suspicion in his 
capacity as translator. 

( i6o ) 



The Hindu COUNTING is innate to man. The measure of a thinff 

systeia of , . , . ^ 

weights. becomes known by its being compared with another 
thing which belongs to the same species and is assumed 
as a unit by general consent. Thereby the difference 
between the object and this standard becomes known. 

By weighing, people determine the amount of gravity 
of heavy bodies, when the tongue of the scales stands 
at right angles on the horizontal plane. Hindus want 
the scales very little, because their dirhams are deter- 
mined by number, not by weight, and their fractions, 
too, are simply counted as so-and-so many/wMs. The 
coinage of both dirhams and fulus is different accord- 
ing to towns and districts. They weigh gold with the 
scales only when it is in its natural state or such as 
has been worked, e.g. for ornaments, but not coined. 
They use as a weight of gold the suvarna=i^ tola. 
They use the tola as frequently as we use the mithJcdl. 
According to what I have been able to learn from them, 
it corresponds to three of our dirhams, of which lo 
equal 7 ^nithkdl. 

Therefore i tola = 2^^ of o^r 7nithMl. 

The greatest fraction of a tola is yV, called mdsha. 
Therefore 16 mdsha = i siivarna. 



I mdsha — 4 andt {eranda), i.e. the seed of a tree 

called Gaura. 
I andt = 4 yava. 
I ?/ai/U — 6 A.aZ(?. 
I ^aM = /^pdda. 
I ^a(ia = 4 wdrt (?). 

Arranged differently we have — 

I suvarna = 16 mdsha — 64 anrZ? = 2^6 yava = 1600 kald = 
6400 |5acZa = 25,600 ??if??7 (?). 

Six mdshas are called i dixinlisliana. If you ask 
them about this weight, they will tell you that 2 draiik- 
sliana = i mithhdl. But this is a mistake ; for i 
mithk(U= ^f mdsha. The relation between a drank- 
shana and a mithkdl is as 20 to 21, and therefore I 
drankshana= i-^V mithlatl. If, therefore, a man gives 
the answer which we have just mentioned, he seems to 
have in mind the notion of a Qnithl'dl as a weight which 
does not much differ from a drankshana ; but by 
doubling the amount, saying 2 drankshanas instead of 
I, he entirely spoils the comparison. 

Since the unit of measure is not a natural unit, Page 
but a conventional one assumed by general consent, it 
admits of both practical and imaginary division. Its 
subdivisions or fractions are different in different places 
at one and the same time, and at different periods 
in one and the same country. Their names, too, are 
different according to places and times ; changes which 
are produced either by the organic development of lan- 
guages or by accident. 

A man from the neighbourhood of Somanath told me 
that their onithkdl is equal to ours ; that 

I mithkdl = 8 7'uvu. 
I ruvu = 2 pdli. 
I pdli — 16 yava, i.e. barley-corn. 

Accordingly i mithkdl = 8 7-uvu = 16 j'^dli = 256 yava. 

This comparison shows that the man was mistaken 
VOL. I. L 


in comparing the two mithkdls ; that what he called 
mitkhdls is in reality the tola, and that he calls the 
mdslia by a different name, viz. ruxu. 

If the Hindus wish to be particularly painstaking in 
these things, they give the following scale, based on the 
measurements which Varahamihira prescribes for the 
construction of idols : — 

I reim or particle of dust = i raja. 

8 raja = i haldgra, i.e. the end of a hair. 

8 halagra = i likhyd, i.e. the egg of a louse. 

8 likhyd = i yilkd, i.e. a louse. 

8 yiVcd = I yava, i.e. a barley-corn. 

Hence, Varahamihira goes on to enumerate the measures 
for distances. His measures of weight are the same as 
those which we have already mentioned. He says : 

4 yava = I andt. 

4 andt = I mdsha. 

1 6 mdsha = I suvarna, i.e. gold. 

4 suvarna = I 2^(tlo,- 

The measures of dry substances are the following : — 

4 pal a = I kudava. 

4 kudava = i prastha. 
4 2^rastha = i ddhaka. 

The measures of liquid substances are the following: — 

8 pala = I kudava. 

8 kudava = i prastha. 

4prastha = l adhaka. 

4 ddhaka = i droiia. 

Weights The followino^ weisfhts occur in the book Caraka. I 

according to . *=" ^ i * i • i • 

give them here according to the Arabic translation, as 
I have not received them from the Hindus viva voce. 
The Arabic copy seems to be corrupt, like all other 
books of this kind which I know. Such corruption 
must of necessity occur in our Arabic writing, more 
particularly at a period like ours, when people care 

the book 


so little about the correctness of what they copy. 
" Atreya says : 

6 particles of dust = i marici. 

6 marici = I mustard-seed {rajikd). 

8 mustard-seeds = i red rice-corn. 

2 red rice-corns = i pea. 

2 peas = I andt. 

And I audi is equal to |^ ddnak, according to the 

scale by 

which 7 ddnc 


are equal to one dirl 

Further : 

4 ciTidi 


I mdsha. 

8 mdsha 


I cana (?). 

( I karsha or suvarna of the 

2 can a 


1 weight of 2 dirhams. 

4 suvarna 


I T^aZa. 

4 i-xila 


1 kudava. 

4 kudava 


I prastha. 

4 prastha 


I ddhaka. \ 

4 ddhaka 


I drona. 

2 drona 


1 surpa. 

2 s'^?73a. 



The weight ^«i« is much used in all the business 
dealings of the Hindus, but it is different for different 
wares and in different provinces. According to some, 
I pal a = yV "tnand ; according to others, i pcda = 14 
mithkdl ; but the mand is not equal to 210 mithhdl. 
According to others, i pcda = 16 mithkdl, but the 
mand is not equal to 240 mithl'dl. According to others, 
I jxda = 15 dirharn, but the mand is not equal to 225 
dirham. In reality, however, the relation between the 
pala and the mand is different. 

Further, Atreya says: " i ddhalca = 64 'pda =128 Page 78. 
dirham — i rati. But if the amdi is equal to -J ddnak, 
one suvarna contains 64 rt?zr/^, and then a dirham has 
32 «?^<f^, which, as each andi is equal to |^ ddnak, are 
equal to 4 ddnak. The double amount of it is \\ dir- 
ham^' (sic). 

Such are the results when people, instead of trans- 
lating, indulge in wild conjecture and mingle together 
different theories in an uncritical manner. 


As regards the first theory, resting on the assninption 
of one suvarna being equal to three of our dirhams, 
people ia general agree in this — that 

I suvarna = I pala. 

I pala = 12 dirham. 

I pala — rV ^'2^"i(^' 

I mand = i8o dirham. 

This leads me to think that I suvarna is equal to 3 
of our mithjcdl, not to 3 of our dirham. 

Varahamihira says in another place of his Saiiihita : 

" Make a round vase of the diameter and height of 
one yard, and then expose it to the rain until it ceases. 
All the water that has been collected in it of the weight 
of 200 dirham is, if taken fourfold, equal to i ddhaka." 

This, however, is only an approximate statement, 
because, as we have above mentioned in his own words, 
I ddhaka is equal to 768 either dirham., as they say, or 
mithkdl, as / suppose. 

Sripala relates, on the authority of Varahamihira, that 
50 j;ftift = 2 56 dirham = i ddhaka. But he is mistaken, 
for here the number 256 does not mean dirhams, but the 
number of the suvarna contained in one ddhaka. And the 
number oi pala contained in i ddhaka is 64, not 50. 

As I have been told, Jivasarman gives the following 
detailed account of these weights : 

4 pala = I kudava. 

4 Jcudava = I prastha. 

4 prastha = I adhaka. 

4 ddhala = I drona. 

20 drona = I JcMrl. 

The reader must know that 16 mdsha are i suvarna, 
but in weighing wheat or barley they reckon 4 suvarna 
= I jjala, and in weighing water and oil they reckon 8 
S7ivarna= i |w/ft. 

The balances with which the Hindus weigh things 
are x^'/^^o-Ttwi'c^, of which the weights are immovable, 
whilst the scales move on certain marks and lines. 


Therefore the balance is called tuld. The first lines 
mean the units of the weight from i to 5, and farther 
on to 10; the following lines mean the tenths, 10, 20, 
30, &c. With regard to the cause of this arrangement 
they relate the following saying of Vasudeva : — 

"I will not kill Sisupala, the son of my aunt, if he 
has not committed a crime, but will pardon him until 
ten, and then I shall call him to account." 

We shall relate this story on a later opportunity. 

Alfazari uses in his astronomical handbook the word 
pake for daij-minutes (i.e. sixtieth parts of a day). I have 
not found this use anywhere in Hindu literature, but 
they use the word to denote a correction in a mathe- 
matical sense. 

The Hindus have a weight called bJiclra, which is 
mentioned in the books about the conquest of Sindh. 
It is equal to 2000 i^ala ; for they explain it by 1 00 X 
20 jx/irt, and as nearly equal to the weight of an ox. 

This is all I have lighted on as regards Hindu 

By measuring (with dry measures) people determine 
the body and the bulk of a thing, if it fills up a certain 
measure which has been gauged as containing a certain 
quantity of it, it being understood that the way in Page 79 
which the things are laid out in the measure, the way 
in which their surface is determined, and the way in 
which, on the whole, they are arranged within the 
measure, are in every case identical. If two objects 
which are to be weighed belong to the same species, 
they then prove to be equal, not only in bulk, but also 
in weight ; but if they do not belong to the same species, 
their bodily extent is equal, but not their weight. 

They have a measure called Msi (? siM), which is 
mentioned by every man from Kanauj and Somanath. 
According to the people of Kanauj — 

4 hist — I prastha. 
\ but = I Jcudava, 



According to the people of Somaiiath — 

1 6 bist = I pantt. 
12 paw^t = I mora. 

According to another theory — 

12 bisi = I Icalasi. 
^ bhi = I mcina. 

From the same source I learnt that a mdna of wheat 
is nearly equal to 5 ma ml. Therefore i lisi (?) is 
equal to 20 mand. The hist corresponds to the Khwa- 
rizmian measure sukhkh, according to old style, whilst 
the kalasi corresponds to the Khwarizmian ghur, for 
I ghiLT =12 sukhkh. 
Measures of Meusuration is the determination of distances by 
lines and of superficies by planes. A plane ought to 
be measured by part of a plane, but the mensuration 
by means of lines effects the same purpose, as lines 
determine the limits of planes. When, in quoting 
Varahamihira, we had come so far as to determine the 
weight of a barley-corn (p, 162), we made a digression 
into an exposition of weights, where we used his 
authority about gravity, and now we shall return to 
him and consult him about distances. He says — 

8 barley-corns put together := i angula, i.e. finger. 

4 fingers = i rdma (?), i.e. the fist. 

24 fingers = i hattha, i.e. j'ard, also called dasta. 
4 yards = I dhanu, i.e. arc — a fathom. 

40 arcs = I ncdva. 

25 nalva = l kroki. 

Hence it follows that i kroh = 4000 yards; and as 
our mile has just so many yards, i mile = i kroh. 
Pulisa the Greek also mentions in his Siddhanta that 
I kroh = 4000 yards. 

The yard is equal to 2 miki/ds or 24 fingers ; for the 
Hindus determine the sanku, i.e. miki/ds, by idol-fingers. 
They do not call the twelfth part of a mikyds a finger 
in general, as ive do, but their mikyds is always a span. 
The span, i.e. the distance between the ends of the 


thumb and the small finger at their widest possible 
stretching, is called vitasti and also kishku. 

The distance between the ends of the fourth or ring- 
finger and the thumb, both being stretched out, is called 

The distance between the ends of the index-finger 
and of the thumb is called karcLblia, and is reckoned as 
equal to two-thirds of a span. 

The distance between the tops of the middle finger 
and of the thumb is called tctla. The Hindus maintain 
that the height of a man is eight times his tdla, whether 
he be tall or small ; as people say with regard to the 
foot, that it is one-seventh of the height of a man. 

Regarding the construction of idols, the book Sarhhitd 
says : — 

"The breadth of the palm has been determined as 6, 
the length as 7 ; the length of the middle finger as 5, 
that of the fourth finger as the same ; that of the index- 
finger as the same minus ^ (i.e. 4^) ; that of the small 
finger as the same minus 4^ (i.e. 3^) ; that of the thumb 
as equal to two-thirds of the length of the middle finger 
(i.e. 3^), so that the two last fingers are of equal length." 

By the measurements and numbers of this passage, Page 80. 
the author means idol-fingers. 

After the measure of the krosa has been fixed and Tiie relation 

-, , between 

found to be equal to our mile, the reader must learn yoja/io, miie, 
that they have a measure of distances, called yojana, ^"^ •^""" 
which is equal to 8 miles or to 32,000 yards. Perhaps 
somebody might believe that i kroli is = | farsakh, 
and maintain that the farsakhs of the Hindus are 
16,000 yards long. But such is not the case. On 
the contrary, i kroh = ^ yojcina. In the terms of 
this measure, Alfazari has determined the circumfer- 
ence of the earth in his astronomical handbook. He 
calls \tjun, in the plural \tjwdn. 

The elements of the calculations of the Hindus on Relation 


the circumference of the circle rest on the assumption 


circuinfer- that it is tJiTice its diameter. So the Matsyct-Purdna 
diameter, says, after it has mentioned the diameters of the sun 
and moon in yojanas : " The circumference is thrice 
the diameter." 

The Aditya-Ptirdna says, after it has mentioned the 
breadth of the Dvipas, i.e. the islands and of their 
surrounding seas : " The circumference is thrice the 

The same occurs also in the Vdyu-Purdna. In later 
times, however, Hindus have become aware of the 
fraction following after the three wholes. According 
to Brahmagupta, the circumference is 3^ times the 
diameter; but he finds this number by a method 
peculiar to himself. He says : '' As the root of 10 
is nearly 3I-, the relation between the diameter and 
its circumference is like the relation between i and 
the root of 10." Then he multiplies the diameter 
by itself, the product by 10, and of this product he 
takes the root. Then the circumference is solid, i.e. 
consists of integers, in the same way as the root of 
ten. This calculation, however, makes the fraction 
larger than it really is. Archimedes defined it to be 
something between ^-% and i^. Brahmagupta relates 
with regard to Aryabhata, criticising him, that he 
fi^ied the circumference as 3393 ; that he fixed the dia- 
meter in one place as 1080, in another place as 1050. 
According to the first statement, the relation between 
diameter and circumference would be like i : 3yVo- 
This fraction (yW) is by^V smaller than f. However, 
as regards the second statement, it contains no doubt a 
blunder in the text, not of the author ; for according to 
the text, the relation would be like 1:3^ and some- 
thing over. 

Pulisa employs this relation in his calculations in 
the proportion of I : 3 xVVd- 

This fraction is here by so much smaller than one- 
seventh as it is according to Aryabhata, i.e. by yV- 


The same relation is derived from the old theory, 
which Yakiib Ibn Tarik mentions in his book, Com- 
positio SpJiccrarum, on the authority of his Hindu 
informant, viz. that the circumference of the zodiac 
is 1,256,640,000 yojana, and that its diameter is 
400,000,000 yojana. 

These numbers presuppose the relation between cir- 
cumference and diameter to be as i : 3 -rir&j^jPin)- 
These two numbers may be reduced by the common 
divisor of 360,000. Thereby we get 177 as numerator 
and 1250 as denominator. And this is the fraction 
(tVVo) which Pulisa has adopted. 

( 170 ) 


rage 8r. 

On various 
kinds of 


The tongue communicates the thought of the speaker 
to the hearer. Its action has therefore, as it were, a 
momentary life only, and it would have been impos- 
sible to deliver by oral tradition the accounts of the 
events of the past to later generations, more particularly 
if they are separated from them by long periods of 
time. This has become possible only by a new dis- 
covery of the human mind, by the art of writing, which 
spreads news over space as the winds spread, and over 
time as the spirits of the deceased spread. Praise 
therefore be unto Him who has arranged creation and 
created everything for the best ! 

The Hindus are not in the habit of writing on hides, 
like the Greeks in ancient times. Socrates, on being 
asked why he did not compose books, gave this reply : 
"I do not transfer knowledge from the living hearts of 
men to the dead hides of shee23." Muslims, too, used 
in the early times of Islam to write on hides, e.g. the 
treaty between the Prophet and the Jews of Khaibar 
and his letter to Kisra. The coj^ies of the Koran were 
written on the hides of gazelles, as are still nowadays 
the copies of the Thora. There occurs this passage in 
the Koran (Sura vi. 91): "They make it karcUis," i.e. 
To/xtt/ota. The Mr las (or eharta) is made in Egypt, 


being cut out of the papyrus stalk. Written on this 
material, the orders of the Khalifs went out into all the 
world until shortly before our time. Papyrus has this 
advantage over vellum, that you can neither rub out 
nor change anything on it, because thereby it would be 
destroyed. It was in China that paper was first manu- 
factured. Chinese prisoners introduced the fabrication 
of paper into Samarkand, and thereupon it was made 
in various places, so as to meet the existing want. 

The Hindus have in the south of their country a 
slender tree like the date and cocoa-nut palms, bearing 
edible fruits and leaves of the length of one yard, and 
as broad as three fingers one put beside the other. 
They call these leaves tdri (tdla or tdr = Borassus fla- 
helliformis), and write on them. They bind a book of 
these leaves together by a cord on which they are 
arranged, the cord going through all the leaves by a 
hole in the middle of each. 

In Central and Northern India people use the bark of 
the tuz tree, one kind of which is used as a cover for 
bows. It is called hliivrja. They take a piece one yard 
long and as broad as the outstretched fingers of the 
hand, or somewhat less, and prepare it in various ways. 
They oil and polish it so as to make it hard and smooth, 
and then they write on it. The proper order of the 
single leaves is marked by numbers. The whole book 
is wrapped up in a piece of cloth and fastened between 
two tablets of the same size. Such a book is called 
2nUhi (cf. picsta, pustaka). Their letters, and whatever 
else they have to write, they write on the bark of the 
tuz tree. 

As to the writing or alphabet of the Hindus, we have onthe 
already mentioned that it once had been lost and for- alphabet. 
gotten ; that nobody cared for it, and that in conse- 
quence people became illiterate, sunken into gross 
ignorance, and entirely estranged from science. But 
then Vyasa, the son of Parasara, rediscovered their 


alphabet of fifty letters by an inspiration of God. A 
letter is called akshai^a. 

Some people say that originally the number of their 
letters was less, and that it increased only by degrees. 
This is possible, or I should even say necessary. As for 
the Greek alphabet, a certain Asidhas (sic) had formed 
sixteen characters to perpetuate science about the time 
when the Israelites ruled over Egypt. Thereupon 
Kimush (sic) and Agenon (sic) brought them to the 
Greeks. By adding four new signs they obtained an 
alphabet of twenty letters. Later on, about the time 
when Socrates was poisoned, Simonides added four 
other signs, and so the Athenians at last had a complete 
alphabet of twenty-four letters, which happened during 
the reign of Artaxerxes, the son of Darius, the son of 
Artaxerxes, the son of Cyrus, according to the chrono- 
graphers of the West. 

The great number of the letters of the Hindu alpha- 
bet is explained, firstly, by the fact that they express 
every letter by a separate sign if it is followed by a 
vowel or a diphthong or a hamza (visarga), or a small 
extension of the sound beyond the measure of the 
vowel ; and, secondly, by the fact that they have con- 
sonants which are not found together in any other 
language, though they may be found scattered through 
different languages — sounds of such a nature that oar 
tongues, not being familiar with them, can scarcely pro- 
nounce them, and that our ears are frequently not able 
to distinguish between many a cognate pair of them. 

The Hindus write from the left to the right like the 
Greeks. They do not write on the basis of a line, 
above which the heads of the letters rise whilst their 
tails go down below, as in Arabic writing. On the 
contrary, their ground-line is above, a straight line 
above every single character, and from this line the 
letter hangs down and is written under it. Any sign 
ctbovc the line is nothing but a grammatical mark to 


denote the pronunciation of the character above which 
it stands. 

The most generally known alphabet is called Siddha- Ontheiocai 

., ^'^'■, -1 1 •• • alphabets of 

matrikd, which is by some considered as originating the Hindus. 

from Kashmir, for the people of Kashmir use it. But 

it is also used in Varanasi. This town and Kashmir are 

the high schools of Hindu sciences. The same writing 

is used in Madhyadesa, i.e. the middle country, the 

country all around Kanauj, which is also called Arya- 


In Malava there is another alphabet called Ndgara, 
which differs from the former only in the shape of the 

Next comes an alphabet called Ardliandgari, i.e. ludf- 
ndgctra, so called because it is compounded of the 
former two. It is used in Bhatiya and some parts of 

Other alphabets are the Malvxtri, used in Malwashau, 
in Southern Sind, towards the sea-coast ; the Saindhava, 
used in Bahmanwa or Almansura ; the Karndta, used in 
Karnatadesa, whence those troops come which in the 
armies are known as Kannara ; the Andliri, used in 
Andhradesa ; the Dvnvari (Drdvidi), used in Dirwara- 
desa (Dravidadesa) ; the Ldri, used in Laradesa (Lata- 
desa) ; the Gauri (Gaudi), used in Purvadesa, i.e. the 
Eastern country ; the Bhaikshuld, used in Udunpur in 
Purvadesa. This last is the writing of Buddha. 

The Hindus begin their books with Om, the word of onthe 
creation, as we begin them with " In the name of ^°^ ™' 
God." The figure of the word om is QV,- This figure 
does not consist of letters ; it is simply an image 
invented to represent this word, which people use, 
believing that it will bring them a blessing, and 
meaning thereby a confession of the unity of God. 
Similar to this is the manner in which the Jews write 
the name of God, viz. by three Hebrew yods. In the 
Thora the word is written YHVH and pronounced 

Tafre 8i 


Adonai ; sometimes they also say Yah. The word 
Ado7iai, which they pronounce, is not expressed in 
On their The Hindiis do not use the letters of their alphabet 

signs. '^ for numerical notation, as we use the Arabic letters in 
the order of the Hebrew alphabet. As in different parts 
of India the letters have different shapes, the numeral 
signs, too, which are called anJ^a, differ. The numeral 
signs which 2ve use are derived from the finest forms of 
the Hindu signs. Signs and figures are of no use if 
people do not know what they mean, but the people of 
Kashmir mark the single leaves of their books with 
figures which look like drawings or like the Chinese 
characters, the meaning of which can only be learned 
by a ver}^ long practice. However, they do not use 
them when reckoning in the sand. 

In arithmetic all nations agree that all the orders of 
numbers (e.g. one, ten, hundred, thousand) stand in a 
certain relation to the ten ; that each order is the tenth 
part of the following and the tenfold of the preceding. 
I have studied the names of the orders of the numbers 
in various languages with all kinds of people with 
whom I have been in contact, and have found that no 
nation goes beyond the thousand. The Arabs, too, stop 
with the thousand, which is certainly the most correct 
and the most natural thing to do. I have written a 
separate treatise on this subject. 

Those, however, who go beyond the thousand in their 
numeral system are the Hindus, at least in their 
arithmetical technical terms, which have been either 
freely invented or derived according to certain etymolo- 
gies, whilst in others both methods are blended together. 
They extend the names of the orders of numbers until 
the 1 8th order for religious reasons, the mathematicians 
being assisted by the grammarians with all kinds of 

The 1 8th order is called Pardrdha, i.e. the half of 


heaven, or, more accurately, tJic half of thai which is 
above. For if the Hindus construct periods o£ time out 
of Kalpas, the unit of this orchr is a day of God {i.e. a 
half nychthemeron). And as we do not know any body " 
larger than heaven, half of it (jxirdrdha), as a half of 
the greatest body, has been compared with a half -of the 
greatest day. By doubling it, by uniting night to day, 
we get the ivhole of the greatest day. There can be no 
doubt that the name Pardrdha is accounted for in this 
way, and th.2it pardr means the ivhole of heaven. 

The following: are the names of the eighteen orders of Theeigbt- 

o " een orders 

nU mberS : ""^ numera- 


I. Ekam. I 10. Padma. 


Dakirh. II- Kharva. 

3. S'atam. 12. Nikharva. 

4. Sahasrarh. 13. MaMpadma. 

5. Ayuta. 14. S'atiku. 

6. Laksha. 15. Samudra. 

7. Prayuta. 16. Madhya. 

8. Koti. 17- Antya. 

9. Nyarbuda. 18. P<irnrdlia. 

I shall now mention some of their differences of 
opinion relating to this system. 

Some Hindus maintain thett there is a igth order Variations 

, occurring 

beyond the Pardrdha, called Phuri, and that this is the in the 
limit of reckoning. But in reality r'echoning is unlimited ; orders. 
it has only a technical limit, which is conventionally 
adopted as the last of the orders of numbers. By the 
word reckoning in the sentence above they seem to mean 
nomenclature, as if they meant to say that the language 
has no name for any reckoning beyond the 19th order. 
It is known that the unit of this order, i.e. one bliv.ri, is 
equal to one-fifth of the greatest day, but on this subject 
they have no tradition. In their tradition there are 
only traces of combinations of the greatest day, as we 
shall hereafter explain. Therefore this 19th order 
is an addition of an artificial and hyper-accurate 


According to others, the limit of reckoning is Jcoti ; 
and starting from Jcoti the succession of the orders of 
numbers would be koti, thousands, hundreds, tenths ; 
for the number of Devas is expressed in Jwtis. Ac- 
cording to their belief there are thirty-three kotis of 
Devasf eleven of which belong to each of the three 
beings, Brahman, Narayana, and Mahadeva. 

The names of the orders beyond that of the i8th 
have been invented by the grammarians, as we have 
said already (p. 174). 

Further, we observe that the popular name of the 
5th order is Basa sahasra, that of the 7th order, Dasa 
laksJia; for the two names which we have mentioned in 
the list above {Ayida Frayuta) are rarely used. 

The book of Aryabhata of Kusumapura gives the 
following names of the orders from the ten till 10 
koti : — 

Pr ayutam. 

Koti padma. 

Further, it is noteworthy that some people establish 
a kind of etymological relationship between the dif- 
ferent names ; so they call the 6th order Niyuta, ac- 
cording to the analogy of the 5th, which is called 
Ayuta. Further, they call the 8th order Arhuda, 
according to the analogy of the 9th, which is called 

There is a similar relation between Nikliarva and 
Kharva, the names of the 12th and nth orders^ and 
between Baiiku and Mahdsahku, the names of the 1 3th 
and 14th orders. According to this analogy Mahd- 
2oadma ought to follow immediately after Fadma, but 
this latter is the name of the lOth, the former the 
name of the 1 3th order. 

These are differences of theirs which can be traced 
back to certain reasons ; but besides, there are many 
differences without any reason, which simply arise 


from people dictating these names without observing 
any fixed order, or from the fact that they hate to 
avow their ignorance by a frank / do not know, — a 
word which is difficult to them in any connection 

The Pulisa-siddhdnta gives the following list of the 
orders of the numbers : — 

4. Sahasram. 

5. Ayutam. 

6. Niyutarh. 

7. Prayutai'n. 

8. Kofi. 

9. Arbudam. 
10. Kharva. 

The following orders, from the i ith till the 1 8th, are 
the same as those of the above-mentioned list. 

The Hindus use the numeral signs in arithmetic in Numeriii 
the same way as we do. 1 have composed a treatise 
showing how far, possibly, the Hindus are ahead of us 
in this subject. AVe have already explained that the 
Hindus compose their books in Slokas. If, now, they 
wish, in their astronomical handbooks, to express some 
numbers of the various orders, they express them by 
words used to denote certain numbers either in one 
order alone or at the same time in two orders {e.g. a 
word meaning either 20 or both 20 and 200). For 
each number they have appropriated quite a great 
quantity of words. Hence, if one word does not suit 
the metre, you may easily exchange it for a synonym 
which suits. Brahmagupta says : "If you want to 
write one, express it by everything which is unique, as 
the earth, the moon ; tiuo by everything which is double, 
as, e.g. hlack and white ; three by everything which is 
threefold; the nought by heaven, the twelve by the 
names of the sun." 

I have united in the following table all the ex- 
pressions for the numbers which I used to hear from 
them ; for the knowledge of these things is most 
essential for deciphering their astronomical handbooks. 

VOL. I. M 



Whenever I shall come to know all the meanings of 
these words, I will add them, if God permits ! ^-^se 

o — Mnya and Ma, both mean- 

samudra, sdgara, i.e. the 

ing ^oi??<. 


gagana, i.e. heaven. 


viyat, i.e. heaven. 


dkdsa, i.e. heaven. 

di^, i.e. the four cardinal 

ambara, i.e. heaven. 


ahhvd, i.e. heaven. 


krita. r^ige 86 

I — ddi, i.e. the beginnhig. 


= ktra. 





urvard, dharant. 

indriyn, i.e. the five 


pitdmaha, i.e. the first 



candra, i.e. the moon. 

sUdthm, i.e. the moon. 





Pdndava, i.e. the five royal 

2 = yama. 



pattrin, mdrgana. 



— rasa. 

locana, i.e. the two eyes. 





^ .-v!' (?) i.e. the year. 

paksha, i.e. the two halves 


of a month. 


netra, i.e. the two eyes. 


= aga.^ 

3 - trikdla, i.e. the three parts 


of time. 

parvala, i.e. the moun- 





pdvaka, vaisvdnara, da- 

naga, i.e. the mountains. 

hana, tapana, hutdkma, 

jvalana, agni, i.e. fire. 


[triguna,'] i.e. the three first 


— vasu, ashta. 


dht, mangala. 

loka, i.e. the worlds, earth. 

gaja, ndga. 

heaven and hell. 




= go, chidra. 
nanda, pavana. 

4 = veda, i.e. their sacred code, 

randhra, antara. 

because it has four parts . 

navan = g. rage 87. 


10 = dis, khendu. 

dki, Rdvana-slras. 

1 1 = Budra, the destroyer of the 

14 = manu, the lords of the 

fourteen manvantaras. 

15 = tithi, i.e. the lunar days in 

each half month. 

Mahddeva, i.e. the prince '^ = «^^^^'' ^H^"' ^^«^^^- 
of the angels. 17 = atyashti. 

18 = dhriti. Page 

akshauhim, i.e. the army ^9 = «^KZ/.r/«/. 

Kuru had. ^^ = '^f ^'.^' ^•''^^'- 

21 = uthriti. 
surya, because there are 22 = 

twelve suns. 

lu'ka, i.e. the sun. 
mdsa, bhdnu. 


23 = 

24 = 

25 = tattva, i.e. the twenty- 
five things, through the 
knowledge of which lib- 

eration is obtained. 

As far as I have seen and heard of the Hindus, they 
do not usually go beyond twenty-five with this kind 
of numerical notation. 

We shall now speak of certain strange manners and strange 
customs of the Hindus. The strangeness of a thing andcuTtoms 
evidently rests on the fact that it occurs but rarely, and Hindus, 
that we seldom have the opportunity of witnessing it. ^''^^^9- 
If such strangeness reaches a high degree, the thing 
becomes a curiosity, or even something like a miracle, 
which is no longer in accordance with the ordinary laws 
of nature, and which seems chimerical as long as it has 
not been witnessed. Many Hindu customs differ from 
those of our country and of our time to such a degree 
as to appear to us simply monstrous. One might 
almost think that they had intentionally changed them 
into the opposite, for our customs do not resemble 
theirs, but are the very reverse ; and if ever a custom of 
theirs resembles one of ours, it has certainly just the 
opposite meaning. 

They do not cut any of the hair of the body. Originally 
they went naked in consequence of the heat, and by 
not cutting the hair of the head they intended to pre- 
vent sunstroke. 


They divide the moustache into single plaits in 
order to preserve it. As regards their not cutting 
the hair of the genitals, they try to make people 
believe that the cutting of it incites to lust and 
increases carnal desire. Therefore such of them as 
feel a strong desire for cohabitation never cut the 
hair of the genitals. 

They let the nails grow long, glorying in their idle- 
ness, since they do not use them for any business or 
work, but only, while living a dolcc far niente life, they 
scratch their heads with them and examine the hair for 

The Hindus eat singly, one by one, on a tablecloth 
of dung. They do not make use of the remainder of a 
meal, and the plates from which they have eaten are 
thrown away if they are earthen. 

They have red teeth in consequence of chewing areca- 
nuts with betel-leaves and chalk. 

They drink wine before having eaten anything, then 
they take their meal. They sip the stall of cows, but 
they do not eat their meat. 

They beat the cymbals with a stick. 

They use turbans for trousers. Those who want little 
dress are content to dress in a rag of two fingers' breadth, 
which they bind over their loins with two cords ; but 
those who like much dress, wear trousers lined with 
so much cotton as would suffice to make a number of 
counterpanes and saddle-rugs. These trousers have no 
(visible) openings, and they are so huge that the feet 
are not visible. The string by which the trousers are 
fastened is at the back. 

Their siddr (a piece of dress covering the head 
and the upper part of breast and neck) is similar to 
the trousers, being also fastened at the back by 

The lappets of the kurtakas (short shirts from the 
shoulders to the middle of the body with sleeves, a 

CM AFTER XVt. igi 

female dress) have slashes both on the right and left 

They keep the shoes tight till they begin to put 
them on. They are turned down from the calf before 
walking (?). 

In washing they begin with the feet, and then wash 
the face. They wash themselves before cohabiting with 
their wives. 

Coeunt stantes velut pahs vitis, dum mulicres ah imo 
sursum moventur vehtt occiqxctce in arando, maritus vero 
plane otiosus onanet. 

On festive days they besmear their bodies with dung- 
instead of perfumes. 

The men wear articles of female dress; they use 
cosmetics, wear earrings, arm-rings, golden seal-rings on 
the ring-finger as well as on the toes of the feet. 

Miscret cos catamiti et viri qui rehus venereis frui non 
potest pushandila dicti, qui penem hiicca devorans semen 
elicit sorhenditm. 

In cacando fccciem vertunt versus murum rctegentes 
pudenda ut videantur a prcetereuntihus. 

Sacra faciunt virilihus liiiga dictis, quce est imago 
veretri Mahadevce. 

They ride without a saddle, but if they put on a 
saddle, they mount the horse from its right side. In 
travelling they like to have somebody riding behind 

They fasten the kntjidra, i.e. the dagger, at the waist 
on the right side. 

They wear a girdle called yajnopavAta, passing from 
the left shoulder to the right side of the waist. 

In all consultations and emergencies they take the Page 90. 
advice of the women. 

When a child is born people show particular atten- 
tion to the man, not to the woman. 

Of two children they give the preference to the 
younger, particularly in the eastern parts of the country ; 


for they maintain that the elder owes his birth to pre- 
dominant lust, whilst the younger owes his origin to 
mature reflection and a calm proceeding. 

In shaking hands they grasp the hand of a man from 
the convex side. 

They do not ask permission to enter a house, but 
when they leave it they ask permission to do so. 

In their meetings they sit cross-legged. 

They spit out and blow their noses without any 
respect for the elder ones present, and they crack their 
lice before them. They consider the crepitus ventris as 
a good omen, sneezing as a bad omen. 

They consider as unclean the weaver, but as clean 
the cupper and the flayer, who kills dying animals for 
money either by drowning or by burning. 

They use black tablets for the children in the schools, 
and write upon them along the long side, not the broad 
side, writing with a white m ;terial from the left to the 
right. One would think that the author of the follow- 
ing verses had meant the Hindus : — 

" How many a writer uses paper as black as charcoal, 
Whilst his pen writes on it with white colour. 
By writing he places a bright day in a dark night, 
Weaving like a weaver, but without adding a woof." 

They write the title of a book at the end of it, not at 
the beginning. 

They magnify the nouns of their language by giving 
them the feminine gender, as the Arabs magnify them 
by the diminutive form. 

If one of them hands over a thing to another, he 
expects that it should be thrown to him as we throw a 
thing to the dogs. 

If two men play at A^ard (backgammon), a third 
one throws the dice between them. 

They like the juice which flows over the cheeks of 



the rutting elephant, which in reaUty has the most 
horrid smell. 

In playing chess they move the elephant straight on, onthe 
not to the other sides, one square at a time, like the chess" 
pawn, and to the four corners also one square at a time, 
like the queen (firzdn). They say that these five squares 
(i.e. the one straight forward and the others at the 
corners) are the places occupied by the trunk and the 
four feet of the elephant. 

They play chess — four persons at a time — with a 
pair of dice. Their arrangement of the figures on the 
chess-board is the following : — 






1 Pawn. 




















Pawn. Pawn. 


Tower. | Pawn. 



Elephant. Horse. 




As this kind of chess is not known among us, I shall 
here explain what I know of it. 

The four persons playing together sit so as to form a 
square round a chess-board, and throw the two dice 
alternately. Of the numbers of the dice the five and 
six are blank (i.e. do not count as such). In that 
case, if the dice show five or six, the player takes one 
instead of the five, and four instead of the six, because 
the figures of these two numerals are drawn in the 
following manner : — 

6 5 


so as to exhibit a certain likeness of form to 4 and i, 
viz. in the Indian signs. 

The name ShdJi or king applies here to the queen 

Each number of the dice causes a move of one of the 

The I moves either the pawn or the king. Their 
moves are the same as in the common chess. The king 
may be taken, but is not required to leave his place. 

The 2 moves the tower {rukh). It moves to the third 
square in the direction of the diagonal, as the elephant 
moves in our chess. 

The 3 moves the horse. Its move is the generally 
known one to the third square in oblique direction. 

The 4 moves the elephant. It moves in a straight 
line, as the tower does in our chess, unless it be pre- 
vented from moving on. If this is the case, as some- 
times happens, one of the dice removes the obstacle, 
and enables it to move on. Its smallest move is one 
square, the greatest fifteen squares, because the dice 
sometimes show two 4, or two 6, or a 4 and a 6. In 
consequence of one of these numbers, the elephant 
moves along the whole side of the margin on the chess- 
board ; in consequence of the other number, it moves 


along the other side on the other margin of the board, 
in case there is no impediment in its way. In con- 
sequence of these two numbers, the ele^^hant, in the 
course of his moves, occupies the two ends of the 

The pieces have certain values, according to which 
the player gets his share of the stake, for the pieces are 
taken and pass into the hands of the player. The value 
of the king is 5, that of the elephant 4, of the horse 3, of 
the tower 2, and of the pawn i. He who takes a king 
gets 5. For two kings he gets 10, for three kings 15, 
if the winner is no longer in possession of his own king. 
But if he has still his own king, and takes all three 
kings, he gets 54, a number which represents a pro- 
gression based on general consent, not on an algebraic 

If the Hindus claim to differ from us, and to be The innate 
something better than we, as we on our side, of course, ofTheHiiidu 
do vice versa, we might settle the question by an ex- 
periment to be made with their boys. I never knew a 
Hindu boy who had only recently come into Muham- 
madan territory who was not thoroughly versed in the 
manners and customs of the people, but at the same 
time he would place the shoes before his master in a 
wrong order, the right one to the left foot, and vice versa; 
he would, in folding, turn his master's garments inside 
out, and spread the carpets so that the under part is 
uppermost, and more of the kind. All of which is a 
consequence of the innate perversity of the Hindu 

However, I must not reproach the Hindus only with Customs of 

. ^ AT ^^^^ heathen 

their heathen practices, for the heathen Arabs too com- Arabs, 
mitted crimes and obscenities. They cohabited with 
menstruating and pregnant women ; several men agreed 
to cohabit with the same woman in the same period of 
menstruation ; they adopted the children of others, of 
their guests, of the lover of their daughter, not to men- 


tion that in some kinds of their worship they whistled 
on their fingers and clapped with their hands, and that 
they ate unclean and dead animals. Islam has abolished 
all those things among the Arabs, as it has also abolished 
them in those parts of India the people of which have 
become Miihammadans. Thanks be unto God ! 


( IS7 ) 



We understand by witchcraft, making by some kind of On aichemy 

,.. ." I'Tf among the 

delusion a thing appear to the senses as something dii- Hindus in 
ferent from what it is in reality. Taken in this sense, 
it is far spread among people. Understood, however, Page 92. 
as common people understand it, as the producing of 
something which is impossible, it is a thing which 
does not lie within the limits of reality. For as that 
which is impossible cannot be produced, the whole affair 
is nothing but a gross deception. Therefore witch- 
craft in this sense has nothing whatever to do with 

One of the species of witchcraft is alchemy, though 
it is generally not called by this name. But if a man 
takes a bit of cotton and makes it appear as a bit of 
gold, what would you call this but a piece of witch- 
craft? It is quite the same as if he were to take a bit 
of silver and make it appear as gold, only with this 
difference, that the latter is a generally-known process, 
i.e. the gilding of silver, the former is not. 

The Hindus do not pay particular attention to al- 
chemy, but no nation is entirely free from it, and one 
nation has more bias for it than another, which must 
not be construed as proving intelligence or ignorance ; 
for we find that many intelligent people are entirely 
given to alchemy, whilst ignorant people ridicule the 
art and its adepts. Those intelligent people, though 


boisterously exulting over their make-believe science, 
are not to be blamed for occupying themselves with 
alchemy, for their motive is simply excessive eagerness 
for acquiring fortune and for avoiding misfortune. Once 
a sage was asked why scholars always flock to the doors 
of the rich, whilst the rich are not inclined to call at 
the doors of scholars. "The scholars," he answered, 
"are well aware of the use of money, but the rich 
are ignorant of the nobility of science." On the other 
hand, ignorant people are not to be praised, although 
they behave quite quietly, simply because they abstain 
from alchemy, for their motives are objectionable ones, 
rather practical results of innate ignorance and stupidity 
than anything else. 

The adepts in this art try to keep it concealed, and 
shrink back from intercourse with those who do not 
belong to them. Therefore I have not been able to 
learn from the Hindus which methods they follow in 
this science, and what element they principally use, 
whether a mineral or an animal or a vegetable one. I 
only heard them speaking of the process of sublimation, 
of calcination^ of analysis^ and of the waxing of talc, 
which they call in their language tdlaka, and so I giiess 
that they incline towards the mineralogical method of 

They have a science similar to alchemy which is 
quite peculiar to them. They call it Rasdijana, a word 
composed with rasa, i.e. gold. It means an art which 
is restricted to certain operations, drugs, and compound 
medicines, most of which are taken from plants. Its 
principles restore the health of those who were ill 
beyond hope, and give back youth to fading old age, so 
that people become again what they were in the age 
near puberty ; white hair becomes black again, the 
keenness of the senses is restored as well as the capa- 
city for juvenile agility, and even for cohabitation, and 
the life of people in this world is even extended to a 


long period. And why not ? Have we not already 
mentioned on the authority of Patanjali (v^ p. 88) that 
one of the methods leading to liberation is liasdyana '? 
What man would hear this, being inclined to take it 
for truth, and not dart off into foolish joy and not 
honour the master of such a wonderful art by popping 
the choicest bit of his meal into his mouth ? 

A famous representative of this art was Nagarjuna, a Nagarjuua, 
native of the fort Daihak, near Somanath. He excelled of a'bouk'on 
in it, and composed a book which contains the sub- '^^^^ ''^"'''• 
stance of the whole literature on this subject, and is 
very rare. He lived nearly a hundred years before our 

In the time of the King Vikramaditya, of whose era Page 93- 
we shall speak hereafter, there lived in the city of 
Ujain a man of the name of Yyadi, who had tui-ned Theaiche- 

. . . . , 'I'ist Vyadi 

his whole attention to this science, and had ruined on in the time 
account of it both his life and property, but all his ramaditya. 
zeal did not even avail him so much as to help him to 
things which, under ordinary circumstances, are easily 
obtained. Becoming restricted in his means, he con- 
ceived a disgust to that which had been the object of 
all his exertions, and sat down on the bank of a river 
sighing, sorrowful, and despairing. He held in his 
hand his pJiarmacojxeia, from which he used to take the 
2:)rescriptions for his medicines, but now he began to 
throw one leaf of it after the other into the water. A 
harlot happened to sit on the bank of the same river 
farther down, who, on seeing the leaves pass by, 
gathered them, and fished up some relating to liasd- 
yana. Vyadi did not notice her till all the leaves of 
his book had gone. Then the woman came to him, 
asking why he had done so with his book, whereupon 
he answered, "Because I have derived no advantage 
from it. I have not obtained what I ought to have 
obtained ; for its sake I have become bankrupt after 
having had great treasures, and now I am miserable 


after having so long been in the hope of obtaining hap- 
piness." The harlot spoke : " Do not give up a pursuit 
in which you have spent your life ; do not despair of the 
possibility of a thing which all sages before you have 
shown to be true. Perhaps the obstacle which prevents 
you from realising your plans is only of an accidental 
nature, which may perhaps be removed by an accident. 
I have much solid cash. It is all yours that you may 
spend it on the realisation of your plans." Thereupon 
Vyadi resumed his work. 

However, books of this kind are written in an 
enigmatic style. So he happened to misunderstand a 
word in the prescription of a medicine, which meant 
oil and human blood, both being required for it. It 
was written raktdmala, and he thought it meant red 
myrohalaiion. When he used the medicine it had 
no effect whatsoever. Now he began to concoct the 
various drugs, but the flame touched his head and 
dried up his brain. Therefore he oiled himself with 
oil, pouring it in great quantity over his skull. One 
day he rose to step away from the fireplace for some 
business or other, but as there happened to be a peg 
projecting from the roof right above his head, he 
knocked his head against it, and the blood began to 
flow. On account of the pain which he felt, he looked 
downward, and in consequence some drops of blood 
mixed with oil dropped from the upper part of his skull 
into the caldron without his noticing it. When, then, 
the concocting process was finished and he and his wife 
besmeared themselves with the concoction in order to 
try it, they both flew up into the air. Vikramaditya on 
hearing of this affair left his castle, and proceeded to 
the market-place in order to see them with his own 
eyes. Then the man shouted to him, " Open thy mouth 
for my saliva." The king, however, being disgusted, did 
not do it, and so the saliva fell down near the door, 
and immediately the threshold was filled with gold. 


Vyadi and the woman flew to any place they liked. 
He has composed famous books on this science. People 
say that both man and wife are still alive. 

A similar tale is the foUowine^ : — In the city of story about 

tliG piece of 

Dhara, the capital of Malava, which is in our days ruled silver in the 
by Bhojadeva, there lies in the door of the Government- Govem- 
house an oblong piece of pure silver, in which the out- inDMra. 
lines of the limbs of a man are visible. Its origin is 
accounted for by the following story : — Once in olden 
times a man went to a king of theirs, bringing him a 
FiCisdyana, the use of which would make him immortal, 
victorious, invincible, and capable of doing everything 
he desired. He asked the king to come alone to the Page 94. 
place of their meeting, and the king gave orders to keep 
in readiness all the man required. 

The man began to boil the oil for several days, until 
at last it acquired consistency. Then he spoke to the 
king : " Spring into it and I shall finish the process." 
But the king, terrified at what he saw, had not the 
courage to dive into it. The man, on perceiving his 
cowardice, spoke to him : "If you have not sufficient 
courage, and will not do it for yourself, will you allow 
me myself to do it ? " Whereupon the king answered, 
" Do as you like." Now he produced several packets of 
drugs, and instructed him that when such and such 
symptoms should appear, he should throw upon him 
this or that packet. Then the man stepped forward to 
the caldron and threw himself into it, and at once he 
was dissolved and reduced into pulp. Now the king 
proceeded according to his instruction, but when he had 
nearly finished the process, and there remained only one 
packet that was not yet thrown into the mass, he began 
to be anxious, and to think what might happen to his 
realm, in case the man should return to life as an 
immortal, vidoi-ious, inrinclUe person, as has above been 
mentioned. And so he thought it preferable not to 
throw the last packet into the mass. The consequence 


was that the caldron became cold, and the dissolved 
man becaaie consolidated in the shape of the said piece 
of silver. 

The Hindus tell a tale about Vallabha, the king of 
th*^ '^ity of Vallabhi, whose era we have mentioned in 
tiie proper chapter. 
story of the A mau of the rank of a Siddha asked a herdsman 
Rai^kraiS with reference to a plant called Thohar, of the species of 
vanaWil the Lactaria, from which milk flows when they are torn 
off, whether he had ever seen Ladaria from which 
blood flows instead of milk. When the herdsman 
declared he had, he gave him some drink-money that 
he should show it to him, which he did. When the 
man now saw the plant, he set fire to it, and threw the 
dog of the herdsman into the flame. Enraged thereby, 
the herdsman caught the man, and did with him the 
same as he had done to his dog. Then he waited till 
the fire was extinguished, and found both the man and 
the dog, but turned into gold. He took the dog with 
him, but left the man on the spot. 

Now some peasant happened to find it. He cut off 
a finger, and went to a fruit-seller who was called 
Raiika, i.e. the poor, because he was an utter pauper, 
and evidently near bankruptcy. After the peasant had 
bought from him what he wanted, he returned to the 
golden man, and then he found that in the place where 
the cut off finger had been, a new finger had grown. 
He cut it off a second time, and bought again from the 
same fruit-seller all that he wanted. But when the 
fruit-seller asked him whence he had the finger, he was 
stupid enough to tell him. 80 Kanka went out to the 
body of the Siddha, and brought it on a carriage to his 
house. He stayed in his old abode, but managed by 
degrees to buy the whole town. The king Vallabha 
desired to own the same town, and asked him to cede 
it to him for money, but Ranka declined. Being how- 
ever afraid of the king's resentment, he fled to the lord 


of Almaiisura, made him presents of money, and asked, 
him to help him. by a naval force. The lord of Alman- 
sura complied with his desire, and assisted him. So ho 
made a night-attack ujDon the king Vallabha, and killed 
him and his people, and destroyed his town. Pf>'-A)le 
say that still in our time there are such traces left 
in that country as are found in places w^iich were de- 
stroyed by an unexpected night-attack. 

The greediness of the ignorant Hindu princes for 
gold-making does not know any limit. If any one of 
them wanted to carry out a scheme of gold-making, 
and 2oeople advised him to kill a number of fine little 
children, the monster would not refrain from such a 
crime ; he would throw them into the fire. If this 
precious' science of Rasayana were banished to the 
utmost limits of the world, where it is unattainable to 
anybody, it would be the best. 

According to the Eranian tradition. Isfaudivad is said An ei 
to have spoken when dying : " Kaus had been given the Page 9 
power and the miraculous things mentioned in the Book 
of the Law. Finally he went to the mountain Kaf as a 
decrepit man, bent down by old age, but he returned 
thence as a lively youth of well-proportioned figure and 
full of force, having made the clouds his carriage, as God 
allowed him." 

As regards cbarnis and incantations, the Hindus have on the bird 
a firm belief in them, and they, as a rule, are much in- 
clined towards them. The book which treats of those 
things is considered as a work of Garuda, a bird on 
which Narayana rode. Some people describe this bird 
in such a way as to indicate a Sifrid-bird and its doings. 
It is an enemy of fish, catching them. As a rule, 
animals have by nature an aversion to their opponents, 
and try to beware of them ; here, however, there is an 
exception to this rule. For when this bird flutters 
above the water and swims on it,, the fish rise from the 

VOL. I. N 



deep to the surface, and make it easy to him to catch 
them, as if he had bound them by his spell. Others 
describe it with such characteristics as might indi- 
cate a stork. The Vciyio Purcina attributes to it a 
pale colour. On the whole, Garuda comes nearer to a 
stork than to a Sifrid, as the stork is by nature, like 
Garnda, a destroyer of snakes. 

Most of their charms are intended for those who have 
been bitten by serpents. ' Their excessive confidence in 
them is shown by this, which I heard a man say, that he 
had seen a dead man who had died from the bite of a 
serpent, but after the charm had been applied he had 
been restored to life, and remained alive, moving about 
like all others. 

Another man I heard as he told the following story : 
"He had seen a man who had died from the bite of a 
serpent. A charm was applied, and in consequence he 
rose, spoke, made his will, showed where he had de- 
posited his treasures, and gave all necessary information 
about them. But when he inhaled the smell of a dish, 
he fell down dead, life being completely extinct." 

It is a Hindu custom that when a man has been 
bitten by a venomous serpent, and they have no charmer 
at hand, they bind the bitten man on a bundle of reeds, 
and place on him a leaf on which is written a blessing 
for that person who will accidentally light upon him, 
and save him by a charm from destruction. 

I, for my part, do not know what I am to say about 
these things, since I do not believe in them. Once a 
man who had very little belief in reality, and much less 
in the tricks of jugglers, told me that he had been 
poisoned, and that people had sent him some Hindus 
possessing the knowledge of charms. They sang their 
charms before him, and this had a quieting effect upon 
him, and soon he felt that he became better and better, 
whilst they were drawing lines in the air with their 
hands and with twigs. 


I myself have witnessed that in hunting gazelles they Hunting 
canght them with the hand. One Hindu even went so 
far as to assert that he, without catching the gazelle, 
would drive it before him and lead it straight into the 
kitchen. This, however, rests, as I believe I have found 
out, simply on the device of slowly and constantly 
accustoming the animals to one and the same melody. 
Our people, too, practise the same when hunting the 
ibex, which is more wild even than the gazelle. When 
they see the animals resting, they begin to walk round 
them in a circle, singing one and the same melody so 
long until the animals are accustomed to it. Then 
they make the circle more and more narrow, till at last . 
they come near enough to shoot at the animals which 
lie there in perfect rest. 

The shooters of Kata-birds have a custom of beating 
copper-vessels during the night with one and the same 
kind of beat, and they manage to catch them with the 
hand. If, however, the beat is changed, the birds fly 
off in all directions. 

All these things are peculiar customs which have 
nothing whatsoever to do with charms. Sometimes the page 96. 
Hindus are considered as sorcerers because of their 
plaving with balls on raised beams or on tight ropes, 
but tricks of this kind are common to all nations. 

( 196 ) 

aud the 


THE BOUNDARIES OF THEIR COUNTRY. The reader is to imagine the inhabitable world, -q 
oiKov[X€vri, as lying in the northern half of the earth, 
and more accurately in one-half of this half — i.e. in 
one of the quarters of the earth. It is surrounded by 
a sea, which both in west and east is called tJie compre- 
hending one ; the Greeks call its western part near their 
country mk€o.v6s. This sea separates the inhabitable 
world from whatever continents or inhabitable islands 
there may be beyond it, both towards west and east ; for 
it is not navigable on account of the darkness of the 
air and the thickness of the water, because there is 
no more any road to be traced, and because the risk 
is enormous, whilst the profit is nothing. Therefore 
people of olden times have fixed marks both on the sea 
and its shores which are intended to deter from enter- 
ing it. 

The inhabitable world does not reach the north on 
account of the cold, except in certain places where it 
penetrates into the north in the shape, as it were, of 
tongues and bays. In the south it reaches as far as 
the coast of the ocean, which in west and east is con- 
nected with the comprehending ocean. This southern 
ocean is navigable. It does not form the utmost 
southern limit of the inhabitable world. On the con- 


trary, the latter stretches still more southward in the 
shape of large and small islands ^vhich fill the ocean. 
In this southern region land and water dispute with 
each other their position, so that in one place the con- 
tinent protrudes into the sea, whilst in another the sea 
penetrates deeply into the continent. 

The continent protrudes far into the sea in the west- 
ern half of the earth, and extends its shores far into 
the south. On the plains of this continent live the 
western negroes, whence the slaves are brought ; and 
there are the ^fountains of the Moon, and on them are 
the sources of the Nile. On its coast, and the islands 
before the coast, live the various tribes of the Zanj. 
There are several bays or gulfs which penetrate into 
the continent on this western half of the earth — the 
bay of Berbera, that of Klysma (the Red Sea), and that 
of Persia (the Persian Gulf) ; and between these gulfs 
the western continent protrudes more or less into the 

In the eastern half of the earth the sea penetrates as 
deeply into the northern continent as the continent in 
the western half protrudes into the southern sea, and 
in many places it has formed bays and estuaries which 
run far into the continent — bays being parts of the sea, 
estuaries being the outlets of rivers towards the sea. 
This sea is mostly called from some island in it or 
from the coast which borders it. Here, however, we 
are concerned only with that part of the sea which 
is bordered by the continent of India, and therefore is 
called the Indian Ocean. 

As to the orographic configuration of the inhabitable Theorogra- 
world, imagine a range of towering mountains like the of AsSani" 
vertebrae of a pine stretching through the middle lati- '"°''*^" 
tude of the earth, and in longitude from east to w^est, 
passing through China, Tibet, the country of the Turks, 
Kabul, Badhakhshan, Tokharistan, Bamiyan, Elghor, 
Khurasan, Media, Adharbaijan, Armenia, the Roman 

India, a re- 
cent alluvial 


Empire, the country of the Franks, and of the Jalalika 
(Gallicians). Long as this range is, it has also a con- 
siderable breadth, and, besides, many windings which 
enclose inhabited plains watered by streams which 
descend from the mountains both towards north and 
south. One of these plains is India, limited in the 
south by the above-mentioned Indian Ocean, and on 
Page 97. all three other sides by the lofty mountains, the waters 
of which flow down to it. But if you have seen the 
soil of India with your own eyes and meditate on its 
nature — if you consider the rounded stones found in 
the earth however deeply you dig, stones that are huge 
near the mountains and where the rivers have a violent 
current ; stones that are of smaller size at greater dis- 
•- tance from the mountains, and where the streams flow 
more slowly ; stones that appear pulverised in the shape 
of sand where the streams begin to stagnate near their 
mouths and near the sea — if you consider all this, you 
could scarcely help thinking that India has once been 
a sea which by degrees has been filled up by the allu- 
vium of the streams. 
First orien- The middle of India is the country round Kanoj 
pirdhirMa- (Kanauj), which they call Madhyadesa, i.e. the middle 
Kanojf^''' of the realms. It is the middle or centre from a geo- 
TdnShar'''^ graphical point of view, in so far as it lies half way be- 
tween the sea and the mountains, ia the midst between 
the hot and the cold provinces, and also between the 
eastern and western frontiers of India. But it is a 
political centre too, because in former times it was the 
residence of their most famous heroes and kings. 

The country of Sindh lies to the west of Kanoj. In 
marching from our country to Sindh we start from the 
country of Nimroz, i.e. the country of Sijistan, whilst 
marching to Hind or India proper we start from the 
side of Kabul. This, however, is not the only possible 
road. You may march into India from all sides, sup- 
posing that you can remove the obstacles in the way. 


In the mountains wbicli form the frontier of India 
towards the west there are tribes of the Hindus, or of 
people near akin to them — rebellious savage races — 
which extend as far as the farthermost frontiers of 
the Hindu race. 

Kanoj lies to the west of the Ganges, a very large 
town, but most of it is now in ruins and desolate since 
the capital has been transferred thence to the city of 
Bari, east of the Ganges. Between the two towns there 
is a distance of three to four days' marches. 

As Kanoj (lOmydkuhja) has become famous by the 
children of Pandu, the city of Mahura [Mathurd) has 
become famous by Vasudeva. It lies east of the river 
Jaun {Yamuna). The distance between Mahura and 
Kanoj is 2?> farsalch. 

Taneshar {Stlidnesvara) lies between the two rivers to 
the north both of Kanoj and Mahura, at a distance of 
nearly ^ofarsakh from Kanoj, and nearly 50 farsahh 
from Mahura. 

The river Ganges rises in the mountains which have 
already been mentioned. Its source is called Gangd- 
dvdra. Most of the other rivers of the country also rise 
in the same mountains, as we have already mentioned 
in the proper place. 

As for the distances between the various parts of Hindu 
India, those who have not themselves actually seen determining 
them must rely upon tradition ; but unfortunately it is 
of such a nature that already Ptolemy incessantly com- 
plains of its transmitters and their bias towards story- 
telling. Fortunately I have found out a certain rule 
by which to control their lies. The Hindus frequently 
estimate the burden an ox could bear at 2000 and 3000 
mand (which is infinitely more than an ox could carry 
at once). In consequence they are compelled to let tbe 
caravan make the same march to and fro during many 
days — in fact, so long until the ox has carried the 
whole load assigned to it from one end of the route to 



the other, and then they reckon as the distance between 
the two places a march of such a iw.mhcr of clays as the 
caravan has altogether spent in marchiDg to and fro. 
It is only with the greatest exertion and caution that 
we can to some extent correct the statements of the 
Hindus. However, we could not make up our mind to 
suppress that which we know on account of that which 
we do not know. We ask the reader's pardon where 
there is anything wrong, and now we continue. 

A man marching from Kanoj to the south between 
the two rivers Jaun and Ganges passes the following 
well-known places : — Jajjamcao, 12 farsakh from Kanoj, 
each farsakh being equal to four miles or one kuroh ; 
Ahhctpilri, S fa7'sakh ; Kitraha, ^farsakh; Barhctmshil, 
8 farsakh ; the Tree of PraycVja, 1 2 farsakh, the place 
where the water of the Jaun joins the Ganges, where 
the Hindus torment themselves with various kinds of 
tortures, which are described in the books about religions 
sects. The distance from Prayaga to the place where 
the Ganges flows into the sea is 12 farsakh {sic). 

Other tracts of country extend from the Tree of 
Prayaga southward towards the coast. Arku-tirtha, 12 
farsakh horn Prayaga; the realm JJwaryahdr, /\o far- 
sakh ; tJrdabishau on the coast, 50 farsakh. 

Thence along the coast towards the east there are 
countries which are now under the sway of Jaur ; first 
Daraur, 40 farsakh from tJrclahishau ; Kctnjt, 30 far- 
sakh ; Malaya, Ap farsakh ; Kunk, 3o/ars«/vA, which is 
the last of Jaur's possessions in this direction. 

Marching from Bari along the Ganges on its eastern 
side, you pass the following stations : — Ajodaha (Ayo- 
dhya, Oudh), 2^ farsakh from Bari ; the famous Band- 
rasi, 20 farsakh. 

Thence changing the direction, and marching east- 
ward instead of southward, you come to Sharivdr, 35 
farsakh from Banarasi ; Pdtaliputra, 20 farsakh ; 
Jlhmgiri, 1 5 farsakh ; Janpa^ 30 farsakh ; Dugiimpur, 



50 farsakh ; Gangdsdijara, 30 favsakli, where the 
Ganges flows into the sea. 

Marchino^ from Kanoi towards the east, you come to kuhoj 
Bdri, 10 farsakh; Dugum, 45 farsakh; the empire Nepal 
of Shilahat, 10 farsakh ; the town Bihat, 12 farsakh. 
Farther on the country to the right is called Tilwat, 
the inhabitants Taril, people of very black colour and 
flat-nosed like the Turks. Thence you come to the 
mountains of Kamrii, which stretch away as far as the 

Opposite Tilwat the country to the left is the realm 
of Naipal. A man who had travelled in those countries 
gave me the following report : — " When in Tanwat, he 
left the easterly direction and turned to the left. He 
marched to Naipal, a distance of 20 farsakh, most of 
which was ascending country. From Naipfd be came 
to Bhoteshar in thirty days, a distance of nearly 80 
farsakh, in which there is more ascending than descend- 
ing country. And there is a water which is several 
times crossed on bridges consisting of planks tied with 
cords to two canes, which stretch from rock to rock, and 
are fastened to milestones constructed on either side. 
People carry the burdens on their shoulders over such 
a bridge, whilst below, at a depth of lOO yards, the water 
foams as white as snow, threatening to shatter the rocks. 
On the other side of the bridges, the burdens are trans- 
ported on the back of goats. My reporter told me that 
he had there seen gazelles with four eyes ; that this was 
not an accidental misformation of nature, but that the 
whole species was of this nature. 

" Bhoteshar is the first frontier of Tibet. There the 
language changes as well as the costumes and the 
anthropological character of the people. Thence the 
distance to the top of the highest peak is 20 farsakh. 
From the height of this mountain, India appears as 
a black expanse below the mist, the mountains lying 
below this peak like small hills, and Tibet and China 


appear as red. The descent towards Tibet and Cbina is 
less than one far sakh.^^ 

From Kanoj MarcMng froHi Kanoj towards the south-east, on the 
western side of the Ganges, you come to the realm of 

Page 99. Jajdhuti, 2,0 farsakh irom Kanoj. The capital of the 
country is Kajurdha. Between this town and Kanoj 
there are two of the most famous fortresses of India, 
Gwaliyar (Gwalior) and Kalanjar. Dalidla [ — farsakh'], 
a country the capital of which is Tiauri, and the ruler 
of which is now Gangeya. 

The realm of Kannakara, 20 farsakh. Apsur, Bana- 
vds, on the sea-coast. 

From Kanoj Marching from Kanoj towards the south-west, you 
come to A si, iS farsakh from Kanoj ; Sahanyd, ly far- 
sakh ; Janclrd, \Z farsakh; Rdjatcri, i^ farsakh; Bazdna, 
the capital of Guzarat, 20 farsakh. This town is called 
Ndrdyan by our people. After it had fallen into 
decay the inhabitants migrated to another place called 
Jadiira (?). 

From Ma- The distance between Mahiira and Kanoj is the same 

Dhih/' as that between Kanoj and Bazana, viz. 28 farsakh. 
If a man travels from Mahura to Ujain, he passes 
through villages which are only five farsakh and less dis- 
tant from each other. At the end of a march of 3 5 far- 
sakh, he comes to a large village called i)iw/a/i^ ; thence 
to Bdmahur, ij farsakh from Diidahi ; Bhdilsdn, 5 far- 
sakh, a place most famous among the Hindus. The 
name of the town is identical with that of the idol wor- 
shipped there. Thence to Ardin, g farsakh. The idol 
worshipped there is called Mahakdla. Dhdr, y farsakh. 

From Ba- Marching from Bazana southward, you come to Mai- 

Mandagir. lodr, 2^ farsakh from Bazana. This is a kingdom the 
capital of which is Jattaraur. From this town to 
Malava and its capital, Dhdr, the distance is 20 farsakh. 
The city of Ujain lies y farsakh to the east oi Dhdr. 

From "Crjain to Bhailasan, which likewise belongs to 
Malava, the distance is 10 farsakh. 

various am 
mals c 


Marching from Dhar southward, you come to Bhiimi- 
liara, 20 farsakh from Dhfir ; Kand, 20 farsakh ; Namct- 
vur, on the banks of the Narmacla (Nerbudda), 10 
farsakh; Alispilr, 20 farsakh ; 3fandagir, on the banks 
of the river Godilvar, 60 farsakh. 

Again marching from Dhar southward, you come to From Dhai 
the valley of JVamiyya, y farsakh from Dhar ; Mahratta- 
Desh, 18 farsakh ; the province of Kunkan, and its 
capital, Tana, on the sea-coast, 2^ farsakh. 

People relate that in the plains of Kunkan, called Notes about 
Ddnak, there lives an animal called sharava (Skr. maisof' 
sarahha). It has four feet, but also on the back it has 
something like four feet directed upwards. It has a 
small proboscis, but two big horns with which it attacks 
the elephant and cleaves it in two. It has the shape 
of a buffalo, but is larger than a ganda (rhinoceros). 
According to popular tales, it sometimes rams some 
animal with its horns, raises it or part of it towards its 
back, so that it comes to lie between its upper feet. 
There it becomes a putrid mass of worms, which work 
their way into the back of the animal. In consequence 
it continually rubs itself against the trees, and finally 
it perishes. Of the same animal people relate that 
sometimes, when hearing the thunder, it takes it to be 
the voice of some animal. Immediately it proceeds to 
attack this imaginary foe ; in pursuing him it climbs 
up to the top of the mountain-peaks, and thence leaps 
towards him. Of course, it plunges into the depth and 
is dashed to pieces. 

The ganda exists in large numbers in India, more 
particularly about the Ganges. It is of the build of a 
buffalo, has a black scaly skin, and dewlaps hanging 
down under the chin. It has three yellow hoofs on 
each foot, the biggest one forward, the others on both 
sides. The tail is not long ; the eyes lie low, farther 
down the cheek than is the case with all other animals. 
On the top of the nose there is a single horn which is 


Page loo. bent upwards. The Brahmins have the privilege of 
eating the flesh of the ganda. I have mj^self witnessed 
how an elephant coming across a young ganda was 
attacked by it. The ganda wounded with its horn a 
forefoot of the elephant, and threw it down on its face. 

I thought that the ganda was the rhinoceros (or 
harhadann), but a man who had visited Sufala, in the 
country of the Negroes, told me that the hark, which 
the Negroes call iniptld, the horn of which furnishes the 
material for the handles of our knives, comes nearer 
this description than the rhinoceros. It has various 
colours. On the skull it has a conical horn, broad at 
the root, but not very high. The shaft of the horn (lit. 
its arrow) is black inside, and white everywhere else. 
On the front it has a second and longer horn of the 
same description, which becomes erect as soon as the 
animal wants to ram with it. It sharpens this horn 
against the rocks, so that it cuts and pierces. It has 
hoofs, and a hairy tail like the tail of an ass. 

There are crocodiles in the rivers of India as in the 
Nile, a fact which led simple Aljahiz, in his ignorance 
of the courses of the rivers and the configuration of the 
ocean, to think that the river of Muhran (the river 
Sindh) was a branch of the Nile. Besides, there are 
other marvellous animals in the rivers of India of the 
crocodile tribe, makara, curious kinds of fishes, and an 
animal like a leather-bag, which appears to the ships 
and plays in swimming. It is called burhl (porpoise ?). 
I suppose it to be the dolphin or a kind of dolphin. 
People say that it has a hole on the head for taking 
breath like the dolphin. 

In the rivers of Southern India there is an animal 
called by various names, grdha, jalatantu, and ta%dud. 
It is thin, but very long. People say it spies and lies 
in wait for those who enter the water and stand in it, 
whether men or animals, and at once attacks them. 
First it circles round the prey at some distance, until 


its length comes to an end. Then it draws itself 
together, and winds itself like a knot round the feet of 
the prey, which is thus thrown off its legs and perishes. 
A man who had seen the animal told me that it has 
the head of a dog, and a tail to which there are attached 
many long tentacles, which it winds round the prey, in 
case the latter is not weary enough. By means of these 
feelers it drags the prey towards the tail itself, and 
when once firmly encircled by the tail the animal is 

After this digression we return to our subject. 

Marching from Bazana towards the south-west, you From i3a- 
come to Anhilvdra, 60 farsakh from Bazana ; Soma- souiamub. 
ndth, on the sea-coast, ^o farsakh. 

Marching from Anhilvara southward, you come to FromAuhii- 
Ldrdesh, to the two capitals of the country, BiJmjJ and haraui. 
Rihanjur, 42 farsakh from Anhilvara. Both are on the 
sea-coast to the east of Tana. 

Marching from Bazana towards the west, you come 
to Mvbtdn, ^o farsakh ivom. Bazana; Bhdti, i^ farsakh. 

Marching from Bhati towards the south-west, yoiT 
come to Aror, 1 5 farsakh from Bhati, a township be- 
tween two arms of the Sindh River ; Bamhanicd Alman- 
sura, 20 farsakh; Lohardni, Sit the mouth of the Sindh 
River, 2,0 farsakh. 

Marching from Kanoj towards the north-north-west, Fro.n Kanoj 
you come to Shirslidraha, 50 farsakh from Kanoj ; 
Finjaur, i2> farsakh, situated on the mountains, whilst 
opposite it in the plain there lies the city of Taneshar ; 
Dahmdla, the capital of Jalandhar, at the foot of the 
mountains, iS fa^'sakh ; Balldivar, 10 farsakh ; thence 
marching westward, you come to Ladda, 13 farsakh; 
the fortress Rdjagiri, S farsakh ; thence marching north- 
ward, you come to Kashmir, 25 farsakh. 

Marching from Kanoj towards the west, you come From Kanoj 
to Diydmaii, 10 farsakh horn Kanoj; Kuti, 10 farsakh ; pkge^io"^' 
Andr, 10 farsakli ; Mirat, 10 farsakh; FdnijJat, 10 


farsakh. Between the latter two places flows the river 
Jcmn ; Kaivital, lo farsakh ; Sunndm, lo farsakh. 

Thence marching towards the north-west, you come 
to Adittahaur, g farsakh ; Jajjanir, 6 farsakh ; Manda- 
hukitr, the capital of Lauhawur, east of the river Irawa, 
8 farsakh ; the river Candrdha, 12 farsakh ; the river 
Jailam, west of the river Biyatta, 8 farsakh ; Waihind, 
the capital of Kaudhar, west of the river Sindh, 20 
farsakh; Pursluucar, 14 farsakh ; Dunpilr, i^ farsakh ; 
Kdbid, 12 farsakh ; Ghazna, ly farsakh. 
Notes about Kashmir lies on a plateau surrounded by high inac- 
cessible mountains. The south and east of the country 
belong to the Hindus, the west to various kings, the 
Bolar-Shah and the Shugnan-Shah, and the more remote 
parts up to the frontiers of Badhakhshun, to the Wakhan- 
Shah. The north and part of the east of the country 
belong to the Turks of Khoten and Tibet. The distance 
from the peak of Bhoteshar to Kashmir through Tibet 
amounts to nearly 2,00 farsakh. 

The inhabitants of Kashmir are pedestrians, they 
have no riding animals nor ele2:)hants. The noble 
among them ride in palankins called katt, carried on 
the shoulders of men. They are particularly anxious 
about the natural strength of their country, and there- 
fore take always much care to keep a strong hold upon 
the entrances and roads leading into it. In consequence 
it is very difficult to have any commerce with them. 
In former times they used to allow one or two foreigners 
to enter their country, particularly Jews, but at present 
they do not allow any Hindu whom they do not know 
personally to enter, much less other people. 

The best known entrance to Kashmir is from the 
town Tjabrahan, half way between the rivers Sindh and 
Jailam. Thence to the bridge over the river, where the 
water of the Kusnari is joined by that of the Mahwi, 
both of which come from the mountains of Shamilan, 
and fall into the Jailam, the distance is 8 farsakh. 


Thence you reach in five days the beginning of the ravine 
whence the river Jailam comes ; at the other end of this 
ravine is the watch-station Dvdr, on both sides of the 
river Jailam. Thence, leaving the ravine, you enter 
the plain, and reach in two more days Addishtan, the 
capital of Kashmir, passing on the road the village 
Ushkara, which lies on both sides of the valley, in the 
same manner as BaramuUI. 

The city of Kashmir covers a space of four farsaUi, 
being built along both banks of the river Jailam, which 
are connected with each other by bridges and ferry- 
boats. The Jailam rises in the mountains Haramakot, 
where also the Ganges rises, cold, impenetrable regions 
where the snow never melts nor disappears. Behind 
them there is Mahdcin, i.e. Great China. When the 
Jailam has left the mountains, and has flowed two 
days' journey, it pa,sses through Addishtau. Yowv far - 
sakh farther on it enters a swamp of one square /ars«/jA. 
The people have their plantations on the borders of this 
swamp, and on such parts of it as they manage to 
reclaim. Leaving this swamp, the Jailam passes the 
town IJshkara, and then enters the above-mentioned 

The river Sindh rises in the mountains Unang in the The upper 

1 • 1 course of 

territory of the Turks, which you can reach m the theSmdh 
followmgf way: — Leaving; the ravine by which you the north 

T. 1 1 ' ^ ^ 1 1" and north- 

enter Kashmir and entering the plateau, then you have westtvon- 

1 n 1 ^ c ^ • tiers of 

lor a march 01 two more days on your leit the mountains India. 
of Bolor and Shamilan, Turkish tribes who are called 
Bhattavarydn. Their king has the title Bhatta-Shah. 
Their towns are Gilgit, Aswira, and Shiltas, and their 
language is the Turkish. Kashmir suffers much from 
their inroads. Marchiog on the left side of the river, 
you always pass through cultivated ground and reach Page 102. 
the capital ; marching on the right side, you pass 
through villages, one close to the other, south of the 
capital, and thence you reach the mountain Kulaijak, 


which is like a cupola, similar to the mountain Dun- 
bawand. The snow there never melts. It is always 
visible from the region of Takeshar and Lauhawar 
(Lahore). The distance between this peak and the 
plateau of Kashmir is two far sakh. The fortress Eaja- 
giri lies south of it, and the fortress Lahur west of it, 
the two strongest places I have ever seen. The town 
Rajawari is three farsakh distant from the peak. This 
is the farthest place to which our merchants trade, and 
beyond which they never pass. 

This is the frontier of India from the north. 

In the western frontier mountains of India there live 

various tribes of the Afghans, and extend up to the 

neighbourhood of the Sindh Valley. 

The west- The southcm frontier of India is formed by the 

southern occan. The coast of India begins with Tiz, the capital of 

frontiers of -nr ■, /^ -, -, ■, • ■, t • 

India. Makran, and extends thence m a south-eastern direction 

towards the region of Al-daibal, over a distance of 40 
farsakh. Between the two places lies the Gulf of 
Turan. A gulf is like an angle or a winding line of 
water penetrating from the ocean into the continent, 
and is dangerous for navigation, specially on account of 
ebb and flood. An estuary is something similar to a 
gulf, but is not formed by the ocean's penetrating into 
the continent. It is formed by an expanse of flowing 
water, which there is changed into standing water and 
is connected with the ocean. These estuaries, too, are 
dangerous for the ships, because the w^ater is sweet and 
does not bear heavy bodies as well as salt water does. 

After the above-mentioned gulf follow the small 
Munha, the great Munha, then the Bawarij, i.e. the 
pirates of Kacch and Somanath. They are thus called 
because they commit their robberies on sea in ships 
called hira. The places on the coast are : — TaiuallesJiar, 
^o farsakh horn. DsLibsil ; Lohardni, 12 farsakh; Baga, 
12 farsakh; Kacch, where the mukl-tvee grows, and 
Bcvroi, 6 farsakh; Soinandth, 14 farsakh; Kcvnhdyat, 


30 farsakli ; Asaivil, 2 days ; Bihroj, 30 farsakh (?) ; 
Sanddn, 50 farsakh ; Silhdra, 6 farsakh ; Tana, 5 

Thence the coast-line comes to the country Ldrdn, 
in which lies the city of Jiniur, then to Vallabha, 
Kdnjt, Darvad. Next follows a great bay in which 
Singaldih lies, i.e. the island Sarandib (Ceylon). Eoiind 
the bay lies the city of Panjaydvar (sic). When this 
city had fallen into ruins, the king, Jaiir, built instead 
of it, on the coast towards the west, a new city which 
he called Padndr. 

The next place on the coast is thnmalndra, then Rdm- 
sher (Rameshar ?) opposite Sarandib ; the distance of the 
sea between them is 12 farsakh. The distance from 
Panjayavar to Eamsher is ^o farsakh, that between Eam- 
sher and Setubandha 2 farsakh. Setubandha means 
bridge of the ocean. It is the dike of Rama, the son of 
Dasaratha, which he built from the continent to the castle 
Laiika. At present it consists of isolated mountains 
between which the ocean flows. Sixteen farsakh from 
Setubandha towards the east is Kihkind, the mountains 
of the monkeys. Every day the king of the monkeys 
comes out of the thicket together with his hosts, and 
settles down in particular seats prepared for them. The 
inhabitants of that region prepare for them cooked rice, 
and bring it to them on leaves. After having eaten 
it they return into the thicket, but in case they are 
neglected, this would be the ruin of the country, as 
they are not only numerous, but also savage and aggres- 
sive. According to the popular belief, they are a race 
of men changed into monkeys on account of the help 
which they had afforded to Rama when making war 
against the demons ; he is believed to have bequeathed 
those villages to them as a legacy. When a man 
happens to fall in with them, and he recites to them 
the poetry of Rama and pronounces the incantations of 
Rama, they will quietly listen to him ; they will even 

VOL. I. 


lead on tbe right path him who has gone astray and 
give him meat and drink. At all events, thus the 
matter stands according to popular belief. If there is 
any truth in this, the effect must be produced by the 
melody, the like of which we have already mentioned 
in connection with the hunting of gazelles (v. p. 195)- 

The eastern islands in this ocean, which are nearer to 
China than to India, are the islands of the Zdhaj, called 
by the Hindus Suvarna-dvipa, i.e. the gold islands. 
The western islands in this ocean are those of the Zanj 
(Negroes), and those in the middle are the islands 
Ramm and the Diva islands (Malediva, Laccadiva), to 
which belong also the Kumair islands. It is peculiar 
to the Diva islands that they rise slowly ; first, there 
appears a sandy tract above the surface of the ocean ; it 
rises more and more and extends in all directions, till 
at last it becomes a firm soil, whilst at the same time 
another island falls into decay and melts away, finally 
is submerged and disappears in the ocean. As soon as 
the inhabitants become aware of this process, they search 
for a new island of increasing fertility, transport there 
their cocoa-nut palms, date palms, cereals, and house- 
hold goods, and emigrate to it. These islands are, 
according to their products, divided into two classes, the 
Diva-kudha, i.e. the Diva of the kauri-shells, because 
there they gather kauri-shells from the branches of the 
cocoa-nut palms which they plant in the sea, and Diva- 
kanhdr, i.e. the Diva of the cords twisted from cocoa- 
nut fibres, and used for fastening together the planks of 
the ships. 

The island of Aliudkwdk belongs to the Kumair 
islands. Kumair is not, as common people believe, the 
name of a tree which produces screaming human heads 
instead of fruits, but the name of a people the colour of 
whom is whitish. They are of short stature and of a 
build like that of the Tarks. They practise the religion 
of the Hindus, and have the custom of piercing their 


ears. Some of the inhabitants of the Wakwdk island 
are of black colour. In our countries there is a great 
demand for them as slaves. People fetch from thence 
the black ebony-wood ; it is the pith of a tree, the other 
parts of which are thrown away, whilst the kinds of 
wood called mulammct and shauhat and the yellow 
sandal-wood are brought from the country of the Zanj 

In former times there were pearl-banks in the bay 
of Sarandib (Ceylon), but at present they have been 
abandoned. Since the Sarandib pearls have disap- 
peared, other pearls have been found at Sufala in the 
country of the Zanj, so that people say the pearls of 
Sarandib have migrated to Sufala. 

India has the tropical rains in summer, which is called O" the 

■^ . . rainfall in 

varshakdla, and these rains are the more copious and india. 
last the longer the more northward the situation of a 
province of India is, and the less it is intersected by 
ranges of mountains. The people of Multan used to 
tell me that they have no varshaMla, but the more 
northern provinces nearer the mountains have the var- 
shakdla. In Bhatal and Indravedi it begins with the 
month Ashadha, and it rains continually for four 
months as though water-buckets were poured out. In 
provinces still farther northward, round the mountains 
of Kashmir np to the peak of Judari between Dunpur 
and Barshawar, copious rain falls during two and a half 
months, beginning with the month Sravana. However, 
on the other side of this peak there is no rainfall ; for 
the clouds in the north are very heavy, and do not rise 
much above the surface. When, then, they reach the 
mountains, the mountain-sides strike against them, and 
the clouds are pressed like olives or grapes, in conse- 
quence of which the rain pours down, and the clouds 
never pass beyond the mountains. Therefore Kashmir 
has no varshakdla, but continual snowfall during two 
and a half months, beginning with Magha, and shortly 


after the middle of Caitra continual rain sets in for a 
few days, melting the snow and cleansing the earth. 
This rnie seldom has an exception ; however, a certain 
amount of extraordinary meteorological occurrences is 
peculiar to every province of India. 

( 213 ) 



We have already mentioned, near the beginning of the 
book, that the language of the Hindus is extremely rage 104. 
rich in nouns, both original and derivative, so that in 
some instances they call one thing by a multitude of 
different names. So I have heard them saying that 
they have a thousand names all meaning sun ; and, no 
doubt, each planet has quite as many, or nearly as 
many names, since they could not do with less (for the 
purposes of versification). 

The names of the week-days are the best known The names 
names of the planets connected with the word hdra, of the week. 
which follows after the planet's name, as in Persian the 
word shamhih follows after the number of the week- 
day (dilsJiamhih, sihshamhih, &c.). So they say — 

Aditya hdra, i.e. Sunday. 
Soma hdra, i.e. Monday. 
Manr/ala hdra, i.e. Tuesday. 
Budha hdra, i.e. Wednesdav. 

Brihaspati hdra, i.e. Thursday. 
S'uJcra hdra, i.e. Friday. 
S'aiiaikara hdra, i.e. Saturday. 

And thus they go on counting, beginning anew with 
Sunday, Monday, &c. 

Muslim astronomers call the planets the lords of the onthe 
days, and, in counting the hours of the day, they begin dierum. 
with the domimts of the day, and then count the planets 
in the order from above to below. For instance, the sun 
is the dominies of the first day, and at the same time the 






dominus of its first hour. The second hour is ruled by 
the planet of the sphere next under the sphere of the 
sun, i.e. Venus. The third hour is ruled by Mercury, 
and the fourth by the moon. Therewith the descending 
from the sun to the cether, i.e. the atmosphere of the 
earth, has an end, and in counting they return to Saturn. 
According to this system, the dominus of the twenty- 
fifth hour is the moon, and this is the first hour of 
Monday. So the moon is not only the dominus of the 
first hour of Monday, but also the dominus of the whole 
On cDpai In all this there is only one difference between our 

system and that of the Hindus, viz. that ive use the Sypai 
KatpLKat, so that the thirteenth planet, counted from 
the dominus diei, is the dominus of the succeeding night. 
This is the third planet if you count in an opposite 
direction, i.e. ascending from the lower planet-spheres 
to the higher. On the contrary, the Hindus make the 
dominus diei the dominus of the whole wxdrjf^^pov, so 
that day and night follow each other without having 
each a separate dominus. This, at all events, is the 
practice of the people at large. 

Sometimes, however, their chronological methods 
make me think that the Sypai KaipiKai were not entirely 
unknown to them. They call the hour hora^ and by 
the same name they call the half of a zodiacal sign in 
the calculation of the nimhahra. The following cal- 
culation of the dominus horce is derived from one of 
their astronomical handbooks : — 

" Divide the distance between the sun and the degree 
of the ascendens measured by equal degrees, by 15, and 
add to the quotient i, droppiug a fraction if there be 
any. This sum is then counted off from the dominus 
diei, according to the succession of the planets from 
above to below." (The planet you arrive at in the end 
is the dominus of the hour in question.) This calcula- 
tion is more of a nature to make us think of w/oai 




as having been used, than of copai Icr-iyxe- 

It is a custom of the Hindus to enumerate the planets order of the 

- ■ p -I IT rm '11 • , ' pLmets and 

in the order oi the week-days, ihey will persist m rheimota- 
using it in their astronomical handbooks, as well as in 
other books, and they decline to use any other order, 
though it be much more correct. 

The Greeks mark the planets with figures, to fix 
thereby their limits on the astrolabe in an easily intel- 
ligible manner, images which are not letters of the 
alphabet. The Hindus use a similar system of abridge- 
ment ; however, their figures are not images invented 
for the purpose, but the initial characters of the names 
of the planets, e.g. d = Aditya, or the sun ; c=Candra, 
or the moon ; h = Buclha, or Mercury. 

The following table exhibits the commonest names 
of the seven planets : — 

The Planets. 

Sun . . 
Moon . 
Mars . . 
Jupiter . 
Venus . 
Saturn . 

Their Names in the Indian Language. 

Aditva, starya, bhanu, arka, divakara, ravi, bibata (?), 

Soma, candra, iudu, himagu, sitarasrai, himarasmi, 
sitamsu, sitadidhiti, bimamayukha. 

Mangala, bhaumya, kuja, ara, vakra, avaneya, 
maheya, krurakshi (?), rakta. 

Budha, saumya, candra, jua, bodbana, vitta (?), 

Vrihaspati, guru, jiva, devejya, devapurobita, deva- 
mantrin, angiras, suri, devapita. 

Sukra, bbrigu, sita, bhargava, asbati (?), danavaguru, 
bbriguputra, aspbujit (?). 

Sanai4cara, manda, asita, kona, adityaputra, saura, 
arki, sviryaputra. 

Page 105 

The multiplicity of names of the sun as exhibited onthe 

twelve suns. 

in the previous table was the cause which led the 
theologians to assume also a multiplicity of suns, so 


that according to them there are twelve suns, each of 
which rises in a particular month. The book VisJimi- 
dhcmna says : " Vishnu, i.e. Narayana, who is without 
beginning in time and without end, divided himself 
for the angels into twelve parts, which became sons 
to Kasyapa. These are the suns rising in the single 
months." Those, however, who do not believe that the 
multiplicity of names is the source of this theory of 
twelve suns, point out that the other planets also have 
many names, but each only one body, and that, besides, 
the names of the sun are not only twelve, but many 
more. The names are derived from words with generic 
meanings, e.g. Aditya, i.e. the hcginniiig, because the 
sun is the beginning of the whole. Savitri means 
every being which has a progeny, and since all progeny 
in the world originates with the sun, he is called 
Savitri. Further, the sun is called liavi, because he 
dries wet substances. The juice in the plants is called 
rasa, and he who takes it out of them is called ravi. 

The moon too, the companion of the sun, has many 
names, e.g. Soma, because she is lucky, and everything 
lucky is called soinagraha, whilst all that is unlucky is 
called pdpagraha. Further, Nisesa, i.e. lord of the night, 
NaJcshatrandtha, i.e. lord of the lunar stations, Dvijesvara, 
i.e. lord of the Brahmins, Sitdriisu, i.e. having a cold ray, 
because the moon's globe is ivatery, which is a blessing 
to the earth. When the solar ray meets the moon, the 
ray becomes as cool as the moon herself, then, being 
reflected, it illuminates the darkness, makes the night 
cool and extinguishes any hurtful kind of combustion 
wrought by the sun. Similarly the moon is also called 
Candra, which means the left eye of Ndrdyana, as the sun 
is his right eye. 

The following table exhibits the names of the months 
Disturbances and differences in lists of these names pro- 
ceed from the causes which we shall mention (v. p. 228) 
when speaking of the enumeration of the different earths. 



a a 






















.ti C 

w ;> 

=• a 

^ !- P 

c « 

^ > 




























be <u 






























^ Ph 

^ ?^ 

-O o 

^ 2 




X ^ ; 

c 2 






'S^ i. 








































Page 107. 

The names 
of the 
from those 
of the hmar 

People think, with regard to the order of the names 
of suns as given by the Vishnu-dharma, that it is 
correct and undisturbed ; for Vfisudeva has a separate 
name in each month, and his worshippers begin the 
months with Margasirsha, in which his name is Kcsava. 
If you count bis names one after the other, you find that 
one which he has in the month Caitra, Vishnu, in accord- 
ance with the tradition of the Vishnu-dliarma. 

The names of the months are related to those of the 
lunar stations. As two or three stations belong to each 
month, the name of the month is derived from one of 
them. We have in the following table written these 
particular stations with red ink (in this translation with 
an asterisk), in order to point out their relationship with 
the names of the months. 

If Jupiter shines in some lunar station, the month to 
which this station belongs is considered as the dominant 
of the year, and the whole year is called by the name of 
this month. 

If the names of the month given in the following 
table differ in some respects from those used heretofore, 
the reader must know that the names which we have 
hitherto used are the vernacular or vulgar ones, whilst 
those given in this table are the classical : — 

The Months. 

The Lunar 

The Months. 


The Lunar 







Visakha. * 








Mula. ■ 

Pausha . 







Purvashadha * 

Magha . 







• ) 








































The sie^ns of the zodiac have names corresponding to on the 

1 • 1-11 T 1 • 1 J.1 names of 

the imasfes which they represent, and which are the the signs of 

1 TT T ^^ ,^ ^- the Zodiac. 

same among the Hindus as among all other nations. Page 108. 
The third sign is called JMitJmna, which means a pair 
consisting of a boy and a girl ; in fact, the same as the 
Tivms, the well-known image of this sign. 

Varahamihira says in the larger book of nativities 
that the word applies to a man holding a lyre and a 
club, which makes me think that he identified Mithuna 
with Orion (Aljahhdr). And this is the opinion of 
common people in general, to such a degree that the 
station is known as Aljauzd (instead of the Tivins), 
though Aljauza does not belong to the image of this 

The same author explains the image of the sixth sign 
as a ship, and in its hand an ear of corn. I am inclined 
to think that in our manuscript there is a lacuna in this 
place, for a ship has no hand. The Hindus call this 
sign Kanyd, i.e. the virgin girl, and perhaps the passage 
in question ran originally thus: ''A virgin in a ship 
holding an ear of corn in her hand.''' This is the lunar 
station Alsimdk AVazal (Spica). The word ship makes 
one think that the author meant the lunar station 
Arawwd (/S, -i;, y, S, €, Yirginis), for the stars of AFawwa 
form a line, the end of which is a curve (like the keel 
of a ship). 

The image of the seventh sign he declares to be fire. 
It is called Ti</« = balance. 

Of the tenth sign Varahamihira says that it has the 
face of a goat, whilst the remainder is a malYira (hippo- 
potamus). However, after having compared the sign 
with a mahara, he might have saved himself the trouble 
of attributing to it the face of a goat. Only the Greeks 
require the latter description, because they consider the 
sign as composed of two animals, as a goat in the part 
above the breast and as a fish in the lower part. But 
the aquatic animal called makara, as people describe 



it, does not require to be explained as a composition of 
two animals. 

The image of the eleventh sign he calls a bucket, and 
the name, Kuvibha, corresponds to this statement. How- 
ever, if they sometimes enumerate this sign or part of 
it among tlie Itu man figures, this proves that they, fol- 
lowing the example of the Greeks, see in it Aquarius. 

The image of the twelfth sign he describes as the 
figure of two fishes, although the name of the sign in 
all languages signifies only one fish. 

Besides the well-known names, Varahamihira men- 
tions also certain Indian names of the signs which are 
not generally known. We have united both kinds in 
the following table : — 

.2 « 

Their Common 

Names which 
are not gene- 
rally known. 

Tiieir Common 

Names which 
are not gene- 
rally known. 



































Mina. 1 

Anta, also 

It is the custom of the Hindus in enumerating the 
zodiacal signs not to begin wdth o for Aries and i 
for Taurus, but to begin with i for Aries and 2 for 
Taurus, &c., so that Pisces are No. I2. 

( 221 ) 



Brahmanda means the egg of Brahman, and applies in The egg of 
reality to the whole of heaven (aWi]p), on account of its its coming 
being round, and of the particular kind of its motion, the wate™ 
It applies even to the whole world, in so far as it is Page 109. 
divided into an upper and an under part. When they 
enumerate the heavens, they call the sum of them 
Brahmanda. The Hindus, however, are devoid of train- 
ing in astronomy, and have no correct astronomical 
notions. In consequence, they believe that the earth 
is at rest, more particularly as they, when describing 
the bliss of paradise as something like worldly happi- 
ness, make the earth the dwelling-place of the different 
classes of gods, angels, &c., to whom they attribute loco- 
motion and the direction from the upper worlds to the 

According to the enigmatic expressions of their tradi- 
tion, the water was before every other thing, and it 
filled the space of the whole world. This was, as I 
understand them, at the beginning of the day of the soul 
(purtcshdhorcUra, p. 332), and the beginning of formation 
and combination. Further, they say the water was roll- 
ing and foaming. Then something white came forth 
from the water, of which the Creator created the egg 
of Brahman. Now, according to some, the egg broke ; 
Brahman came forth from it, the one half became the 
heaven, the other the earth, and the broken bits between 
the two halves became the rains. If they said moiin- 


Greek par- 
allel : Ascle- 

Water the 
first ele- 
ment of 
Tlie egg of 
broken in 
two halves. 

tains instead of rams, the matter would be somewhat 
more plausible. According to others, God spoke to 
Brahman : "I create an egg, which I make for thy 
dwelling in it." He had created it of the above men- 
tioned foam of the water, but when the water sank and 
was absorbed, the Qgg broke into two halves. 

Similar opinions were held by the ancient Greeks 
regarding Asclepius, the inventor of the medical art; 
for, according to Galenus, they represent him as holding 
an egg in his hand, whereby they mean to indicate that 
the world is round, the egg an image of the universe, 
and that the whole world needs the medical art. Ascle- 
pius does not hold a lower position in the belief of the 
Greeks than Brahman in the belief of the Hindus, for 
they say that he is a divine power, and that his name 
is derived from his action, i.e. protecting against dryness, 
which means death, because death occurs when dryness 
and cold are prevalent. As for his natural origin, they 
call him the son of Apollo, the son of Phlegyas (?), and 
the son of Kronos, i.e. the planet Saturn. By this 
system of affiliation they mean to attribute to him the 
force of a threefold god. 

The theory of the Hindus, that the water existed 
before all creation, rests on this, that it is the cause of 
the cohesion of the atoms of everything, the cause of 
the growing of everything, and of the duration of life in 
every animated being. Thus the water is an instrument 
in the hand of the Creator when he wants to create 
something out of matter. A similar idea is propounded 
by the Koran xi. 9 : " And his (God's) throne was on the 
icater!' Whether you explain it in an external way 
as an individual body called by this name, and which 
God orders us to venerate, or whether you give it the 
intrinsic meaning of realm, i.e. God's realm, or the 
like, in any case the meaning is this, that at that 
time beside God there was nothing but the water and 
his throne. If this our book were not restricted to 


the ideas of one single nation, we should produce from 
the belief of the nations who lived in ancient times in 
and round Babel ideas similar to the egg of Brahman, 
and even more stupid and unmeaning than that. 

The theory of the division of the egg into two halves 
proves that its originator was the contrary of a scientific 
man, one who did not know that the heaven compre- 
hends the eartli, as the shell of the egg of Brahman 
comprehends its yolk. He imagined the earth to be 
below and the heaven in only one of the six directions 
from the earth, i.e. above it. If he had known the 
truth, he might have spared himself the theory of the 
breaking of the egg. However, he wished by his theory 
to describe one half of the egg as spread out for the 
earth, and the other half as placed upon it for a cupola. Page no. 
trying to outvie Ptolemy in the planispheric represen- 
tation of a globe, but without success. 

There have always been similar fancies afloat, which Quotation 
everybody interprets as best suits his religion and ^nmceut^^ 
philosophy. So Plato says in his Timceus something 
like the Brahmanda : " The Creator cut a straight thread 
into halves. With each of them he described a circle, 
so that the two circles met in two places, and one of 
them he divided into seven parts." In these words he 
hints, as is his custom, at the original two motions of 
the universe (from east to west in the diurnal rotation, 
and from west to east in the precession of the equi- 
noxes), and at the globes of the planets. 

Brahmagupta says in the first chapter of the Brahma- Quotation 
siddJidnta, where he enumerates the heavens, placing magupta.' 
the moon in the nearest heaven, the other planets in 
the following ones, and Saturn in the seventh : " The 
fixed stars are in the eighth heaven, and this has been 
created round in order to last for ever, that in it the 
pious may be rewarded, the wicked be punished, since 
there is nothing behind it." He indicates in this chapter 
that the heavens are identical with the spheres, and he 



from the 
of Pulisa. 


from Brah- 




and Arya- 


gives them in an order which differs from that of the 
traditional literature of their creed, as we shall show 
hereafter in the proper place. He indicates, too, that 
the round can only be slowly influenced from without. 
He evinces his knowledge of the Aristotelic notions 
regarding the round form and the rotating motion, and 
that there is no body in existence behind the spheres. 

If it is of this description, evidently Brahmanda is 
the totality of the spheres, i.e. the aWy^p, in fact, the 
universe, for retribution in another life takes place, ac- 
cording to the ideas of the Hindus, within it. 

Pulisa says in his Siddkdnta : " The totality of the 
world is the sum of earth, water, fire, wind, and heaven. 
The latter was created behind the darkness. It appears 
to the eyes as blue, because it is not reached by the 
rays of the sun and not illuminated by them like the 
watery non-igneous globes, i.e. the bodies of the planet 
and the moon. When the rays of the sun fall upon 
these and the shadow of the earth does not reach them, 
their darkness disappears and their figures become visi- 
ble in the night. The light-giver is only one, all the 
others receive the light from him." In this chapter 
Pulisa speaks of the utmost limit that can be reached, 
and calls it heaven. He places it in darkness, since he 
says that it exists in a place which is not reached by 
the rays of the sun. The question as to the blue-grey 
colour of heaven which is perceived by the eye is of too 
great an extent to be touched upon here. 

Brahmagupta says in the above-mentioned chapter : 
"Multiply the cycles of the moon, i.e. 57,753,300,000, 
by the number of the yojana. of her sphere, i.e. 324,000, 
and you get as the product 18,712,069,200,000,000, i.e. 
the number of the yojana of the sphere of the zodiac." 
Of the yojana as a measure of distance we have already 
spoken in the chapter on metrology (ch. xv. p. 167). 
We give the just-mentioned calculation of Brahma- 
gupta, simply reproducing his words without any re- 


sponsibility of onr own, for he has not explained on 
what reason it rests, ^'asishtha says that the Brah- 
nianda comprehends the spheres, and the just-mentioned 
numbers are the measure of the Brahmanda, since the 
sphere of the zodiac is connected with it. The com- 
mentor Balabhadra says : '• We do not consider these 
numbers as a measure of heaven, for we cannot define 
its greatness, but we consider them as the utmost limit 
to which the human power of vision can penetrate. 
There is no possibility of human perception reaching 
above it ; but the other spheres differ from each other 
in greatness and smallness, so as to be visible in various 
degrees." The followers of Aryabhata say : " It is sufh- Pa^e ht. 
cient for us to know the space which is reached by the 
solar rays. We do not want the space which is not 
reached by the solar rays, though it be in itself of an 
enormous extent. That which is not reached by the 
rays is not reached by the perception of the senses, 
and that which is not reached by perception is not 

Let us now examine the bearing of the words of these criticisms 
authors. The words of Vasishtha prove that the Brah- different 
manda is a globe comprehending the eighth or so called Thrquestion 
zodiacal sphere, in which the fixed stars are placed, and sphere""^ 
that the two spheres touch each other. Now w^e on our 
own part were already obliged to assume an eighth 
sphere, but there is no reason why we should suppose 
a ninth one. 

On this head the opinions of people are divided. 
Some hold the existence of a ninth sphere to be a neces- 
sity on account of the rotation froin east to west, in so 
far as it moves in this direction and compels everything 
which it comprehends to move in the same direction. 
Others assume the ninth sphere on account of the same 
motion, but suppose that it by itself is motionless. 

The tendency of the representatives of the former 
theory is perfectly clear. How^eve;-, Aristotle has proved 








that each moving body is brought into motion by some- 
thing moving which is not within itself. So also this 
ninth sphere would presuppose a mover outside itself. 
What, however, should prevent this mover from putting 
the eight spheres into motion without the intermedia- 
tion of a ninth sphere ? 

As regards the representatives of the second view, 
one might almost think that they had a knowledge of 
the words of Aristotle which we have quoted, and that 
they knew that the first mover is motionless, for they 
represent the ninth sphere as motionless and as the 
source of the east to west rotation. However, Aristotle 
has also proved that the first mover is not a body, 
whilst he must be a body, if they describe him as a 
globe, as a sphere, and as comprehending something- 
else within itself and motionless. 

Thus the theory of the ninth sphere is proved to be 
an impossibility. To the same effect are the words of 
Ptolemy in the preface of his Almagest : " The first 
cause of the first motion of the universe, if we consider 
the motion by itself, is according to our opinion an in- 
visible and motionless god, and the study of this sub- 
ject we call a divine one. We perceive his action in 
the highest heights of the world, but as an altogether 
different one from the action of those substances which 
can be perceived by the senses." 

These are the words of Ptolemy on the first mover, 
without any indication of the ninth sphere. But the 
latter is mentioned by Johannes Grammaticus in his 
refutation of Proclus, where he says : " Plato did not 
know a ninth, starless sphere." And, according to Jo- 
hannes, it was this, i.e. the negation of the ninth sphere, 
which Ptolemy meant to say. 

Finally, there are other people who maintain that 
behind the last limit of motion there is an infinite rest- 
ing body or an infinite vacuum, or something which they 
declare to be neither a vactmm nor a 'plemim. These 


theories, however, have no connection whatsoever with 
our subject. 

Balabhadra gives ns the impression of holding the 
same opinion as those who think that heaven or the 
heaveos are a compact body holding in equilibrium all 
heav}" bodies and carrying them, and that it is above 
the spheres. To Balabhadra it is just as easy to prefer 
tradition to eyesight, as it is difficult to us to prefer 
doubt to a clear proof. 

The truth is entirely with the followers of Aryabhata 
who give us the impression of really being men of great 
scientific attainments. It is perfectly evident that 
Brahmanda means the aWvip, together with all products 
of creation in it. 

( 228 ) 

Oil the 



The people of whom we have spoken in the preceding 
earths. chapter think that the earths are seven like seven 
Page 112. covers one above the other, and the upper one they 
divide into seven parts, differing from our astronomers, 
who divide it into K-Ai/xara, and from the Persians, who 
divide it into Kishvar. We shall afterwards give a clear 
explanation of their theories derived from the first 
authorities of their religious law, to expose the matter 
to fair criticism. If something in it appears strange to 
us, so as to require a commentary, or if we perceive some 
coincidence with others, even if both parties missed the 
mark, we shall simply put the case before the reader, 
not with the intention of attacking or reviling the 
Hindus, but solely in order to sharpen the minds of 
those who study these theories. 
Differences They do not differ among themselves as to the num- 
ber of earths nor as to the number of the parts of the 

ill the 
sequence of 

expiainedas uppcr earth, but they differ regarding their names and 

frdm the 
of the 

th^ order of these names. I am inclined to derive this 
difference from the great verbosity of their language, for 
they call one and the same thing by a multitude of names. 
For instance, they call the sun by a thousand different 
names according to their own statement, just as tbe 
Arabs call the lion by nearly as many. Some of these 
names are original, while others are derived from the 
changing conditions of his life or his actions and facul- 
ties. The Hindus and their like boast of this copious- 
ness, whilst in reality it is one of the greatest faults of 


the language. For it is the task of language to give a 
name to even^thing in creation and to its effects, a name 
based on general consent, so that everybody, when hear- . 
ing this name pronounced by another man, understands 
what he means. If therefore one and the same name or 
word means a variety of things, it betrays a defect of the 
language and compels the hearer to ask the speaker 
what he means by the word. And thus the word in 
question must be dropped in order to be replaced either 
by a similar one of a sufficiently clear meaning, or by 
an epithet describing what is really meant. If one and 
the same thing is called by many names, and this is not 
occasioned by the fact that every tribe or class of people 
uses a separate one of them, and if, in fact, one single 
name would be sufficient, all the other names save this 
one are to be classified as mere nonsense, as a means 
of keeping people in the dark, and throwing an air of 
mystery about the subject. And in any case this 
copiousness offers painful difficulties to those who want 
to learn the whole of the language, for it is entirely use- 
less, and only results in a sheer waste of time. 

Frequently it has crossed my mind that the authors 
of books and the transmitters of tradition have an aver- 
sion to mentioning the earths in a definite arrangement, 
and limit themselves to mentioning their names, or that 
the copyists of the books have arbitrarily altered the 
text. For those men who explained and translated the 
text to me were well versed in the language, and were not 
known as persons who would commit a wanton fraud. 

The following table exhibits the names of the earths, The earths 
as far as I know them. We rely chiefly on that list, the Ailtfa-^ 
which has been taken from the Aditya-purdna, because '""' 
it follows a certain rule, combining every single earth 
and heaven with a single member of the members of the 
sun. The heavens are combined with the members from 
the skull to the womb, the earths with the members from 
the navel to the foot. This mode of comparison illus- 
trates their sequence and preserves it from confusion : — 



Page 113. 








tC t>i 






^ 1 



B ^ 

2 1 




















<s ^ 



;5 J J* 





ri '^ ti 

Amsu (?) 



• r-I" 


a - 


<s -i3 







• rt 





<^ t; . 




S'arkara (?) 



1 1 . 

Asala (?) 


c^ a. g 




Visala (?) 

Mahakhya (?) 



'T t^ X! 
i^ c3 ^ 





1 1 





■ c3 

1 „ 


1 H 




4 -5 



> r^ a> 

1— 1 



Jagara (?) 






Of the Danavas — Namuci, Sankukania, Kabandha (?), Nishku- 
kada (?), ^uladanta, Lohita, Kalinga, Svapada ; and the master of 
the serpents — Dhananjaya, Kjiliya. 

Of the Daityas— Surakshas, Mahajambha, Hayagriva, Krishna, 
Janarta (?), ^aukhakhsha, Gomukha ; and of the Rakshasa— 
Nila, Megha, Krathanaka, Mahoshiiisha, Kambala, Asvatara, 

Of the Danavas — Rada (?), Anuhlada, Agnimukha, Tarakaksha, 
Trisira, ^isumara ; and of the Rakshasa — Cyavana, Nanda, Visilla. 
And there are many cities in this world. 

Of the Daityas— Kalanemi, Gajakarna, Unjara (?) ; and of the 
Rakshasa — Sumali, Munja, Vrikavaktra, and the large birds called 

Of the Daityas— Virocana, Jaj^anta (?), Agnijihva, Hiranyaksha ; 
and of the Rakshasa — Vidyuj jihva, Mahamegha ; the serpent 
Karmara, Svastikajaya. 

Of the Daityas — Kesari ; and of the Rakshasa — Urdhvakuja (?), 
Satasirsha, i.e. having a hundred heads, a friend of Indra ; Vasuki, 
a serpent. 

The king Bali ; and of the Daitya Mucukunda. In this world 
there are many houses for the Rakshasa, and Vishnu resides there, 
and Sesha, the master of the serpents. 

After the earths follow the heavens, consisting of onthe 
seven stories, one above the other. They are called heavens. 
loJca, which means '' gather ing-ijlacey In a similar f,om' 
manner also the Greeks considered the heavens as Grammati- 
o^atheriug-places. So Johannes Grammaticus says in Ji,, ' 

his refutation of Procliis : " Some philosophers thought 
that the sphere called yaka^las, i.e. milk, by which 
they mean the milky way, is a dwelling-place for 
rational souls." The poet Homer says: "Thou hast 
made the pure heaven an eternal dwelling-place for the 
gods. The winds do not shake it, the rains do not 
wet it, and the snow does not destroy it. For in it there 
is resplendent clearness without any covering cloud." 

Plato says : " God spoke to the seven planets : You 
are the gods of the gods, and I am the father of the 
actions ; I am he who made you so that no dissolution 

id Aris- 



Page 115. is possible ; for anything bound, though capable of 
being loosened, is not exposed to destruction, as long 
as its order is good." 

Aristotle says in his letter to Alexander : " The 
world is the order of the whole creation. That which 
is above the world, and surrounds it on the sides, is the 
dwelling-place of the gods. Heaven is full of the gods 
to which we give the name of stars." In another place 
of the same book he says, " The earth is bounded by 
the water, the water by the air, the air by the fire, the 
fire by the aW/]p. Therefore the highest place is the 
dwelling-place of the gods, and the lowest, the home 
of the aquatic animals." 

There is a similar passage in the Vdyu-Purdna to 
this effect, that the earth is held in its grasp by the 
water, the water by the pure fire, the fire by the wind, 
the wind by heaven, and heaven by its lord. 

The names of the lokas do not differ like those of 
the earths. There is a difference of opinion only re- 
garding their order. We exhibit the names of the 
lokas in a table similar to the former (p. 230). 

Wliat members of 

Tlieir Names 

The Number of the 

the Sun they repre- 

according to the 


sent according to 

Aditya, Vciyu and 

the Aditya-Purdnu. 

Vish-iu Purdnas. 


The stomach. 



The breast. 



The mouth. 



The eyebrow. 



The forehead. 



f Above the \ 
\ forehead, j 



The skull. 


Criticisms This theory of the earths is the same with all Hiudus, 

mentatorof" cxcept aloue the commentator of the book of Patanjali. 

Pag^ii^el' He had heard that the Fitaras, or fathers, had their 

gatheriog-place in the sphere of the moon, a tradition 

built on the theories of the astronomers. In conse- 


quence he made the lunar sphere the first heaven, 
whilst he ought to have identified it with Bhiuiolca. 
And because by this method he had one heaven too 
many, he dropped the Svarloka, the place of reward. 

The same author differs besides in another point. 
As the seventh heaven, Satyaloka, is in the Puranas 
also called Bralimalvka, he placed the Brahmaloka 
above the Satyaloka, whilst it would have been much 
more reasonable to think that in this case one and the 
same thing is called by two different names. He ought 
to have omitted the Brahmaloka, to have identified 
Pitriloka with Bhiirloka, and not to have left out the 

So much about the seven earths and the seven 
heavens. We shall now speak of the division of the 
surface of the uppermost earth and of related subjects. 

Dtp (dvipa) is the Indian word for island. Hence The system 
the words Sangaladip (Simhaladvipa), which we call andsm*. 
Serendib, and the Dibajdt (Maledives, Laccadives). The 
latter are numerous islands, which become, so to speak, 
decrepit, are dissolved and flattened, and finally dis- 
appear below the water, whilst at the same time other 
formations of the same kmd begin to appear above the 
water like a streak of sand which continually grows 
and rises and extends. The inhabitants of the former 
island leave their homes, settle on the new one and 
colonise it. 

According to the religious traditions of the Hindus, 
the earth on which we live is round and surrounded by 
a sea. On the sea lies an earth like a collar, and on 
this earth lies again a round sea like a collar. The 
number of dry collars, called islands, is seven, and 
likewise that of the seas. The size of both dvipas and 
seas rises in such a progression that each dxipa is the 
double of the preceding di-ipa, each sea the double of 
the preceding sea, i.e. in the progression of the powers 
of two. If the middle earth is reckoned as one, the 

and the 




size of all seven earths represented as collars is 127. 
If the sea surrounding the middle earth is counted as 
one, the size of all seven seas represented as collars is 
127. The total size of both earths and seas is 254. 
The size of The commentator of the book of Patanjali has adopted 
and se^^aT,^^ as the size of the middle earth 100,000 yojana. Accord- 
the°Jom-^ " ingly, the size of all the earths would be 12,700,000 
Patahjlu"^ yojana. Further he adopts as the size of the sea which 
surrounds the middle earth 200,000 yojana. Accord- 
ingly, the size of all the seas would be 25,400,000 
yojana, and the total size of all the earths and seas 
38,100,000 yojana. However, the author himself has 
not made these additions. Therefore we cannot com- 
pare his numbers with ours. But the Vdyu-Purdna 
says that the diameter of the totality of earths and seas 
is 37,900,000 yojana, a number which does not agree 
with the above-mentioned sum of 38,100,000 yojana. 
It cannot be accounted for, unless we suppose that the 
number of earths is only six, and that the progression 
begins with the number 4 instead of 2. Such a num- 
ber of seas {i.e. 6) may possibly be explained in this 
way, that the seventh one has been dropped, because 
the author only wanted to find the size of the contin- 
ents, which induced him to leave the last surrounding 
sea out of the calculation. But if he once mentions 
the continents he must also mention all the seas which 
surround them. Why he has commenced the pro- 
gression with 4 instead of 2, I cannot account for by 
any of the principles of the calculation as they have 
been laid down. 

Each dvipa and sea has a separate name. As far as 
we know them, we place them before the reader in the 
following table, and hope that the reader will excuse us 
for so doing". 



Page I T ■; 

-y: )yi 

W "^' 







Ph g. 


1 I 

s:^ 3 ^ 

w ^ X 

^ a 


O !/3 
?- O 















Ikshurasoda, i. 
the juice of 


? ^ 

SBdiAQ atj:} JO 
.igqiunu aqx 

^ > 


Page 118. The differences of the traditions as exhibited by this 

table cannot be accounted for in any rational way. They 
can hardly have sprung from any other source but from 
arbitrary, accidental changes of the enumeration. The 
most appropriate of these traditions is that of the 
Matsya-Purdna, because it enumerates the dvipas and 
seas one after the other according to a fixed order, a 
sea surrounding an island, an island surrounding a sea, 
the enumeration proceeding from the centre to the 

We shall now in this place record some related sub- 
jects, though it would perhaps be more correct to treat 
of them in some other part of the book. 
Quotation The commeutator of the book of Patanjali, wishing 
commenta- to determine the dimension of the world, begins from 
jaii. ' below and says : " The dimension of the darkness is one 
koti and 85 laksJia yojana, i.e. 18,000,000 yojana. 

" Then follows Naraka, i.e. the hells, of the dimension 
of 13 koti and 12 laksha, i.e. 131,200.000 yojana. 

"Then follows darkness, of one laksha, i.e. 100,000 

" Above it lies the earth Vajra, so called on account 
of its hardness, because the word means a diamond, and 
the 'molten thunder-holt, of 34,000 yojana. 

"Above it lies the middle earth Garhlia, of 60,000 

" Above it lies the golden earth, of 30,000 yojana. 

" Above this the seven earths, each of 10,000 yojana, 
which makes the sum of 70,000 yojana. The upper one 
of them is that which contains the dvipas and the seas. 

" Behind the sweet-water sea lies Lokdloka, which 
means a not-gathering-iolace, i.e. a place without civilisa- 
tion and inhabitants. 

" Thereupon follows the gold-earth of one Koti, i.e. 
10,000,000 yojana.; above it the Pitriloka oi 6,134,000 

" The totality of the seven lokas, which is called Brah- 


mdnda, has the dimension of 15 hoti, i.e. I50,0005CXX) 
yojana. And above this is the darkness tamas, similar 
to the lowest darkness, of 18,500,000 yojana." 

We on our part found it already troublesome to 
enumerate all the seven seas, together with the seven 
earths, and now this author thinks he can make the sub- 
ject more easy and pleasant to us by inventing some more 
earths below those already enumerated by ourselves ! 

The Vishim-Furdua^when treating of similar subjects, 
says: "There is a serpent under the seventh lowest 
earth, which is called Seshdkhija, worshipped among 
the spiritual beings. It is also called Ananta. It has 
a thousand heads, and bears the earths without being 
molested by their heavy weight. These earths, one 
stored above the other, are gifted with good things 
and happiness, adorned with jewels, illuminated by 
their own rays, not by those of sun and moon. The 
latter two luminaries do not rise in them. Therefore 
their temperature is always equal, they have everlasting 
fragrant flowers, blossoms of trees and fruits ; their in- 
habitants have no notion of time, since they do not 
become aware of any motions by counting them. Their 
dimension is 70,000 yojana, the dimensions of each 
being 10,000. Narada, the Rishi, went down in order 
to see them, and to acquaint himself with the two kinds 
of beings which inhabit them, the Daily a and Ddnava. 
When he then found the bliss of paradise to be rather 
insignificant in comparison with that of these earths, 
he returned to the angels, giving his report to them, 
and rousing their admiration by his description." 

Further, the following passage : " Behind the sweet- 
water sea lies the gold earth, the double of the totality 
of the dvipas and seas; but not inhabited by men nor 
by demons. Behind it lies LoMloln, a mountain of the 
height of 10,000 yojana, and of the same breadth. Its Page 
whole dimension is 50 koti, i.e. 500,000,000 yojana'' 
The totality of all this is in the Hindu language 


sometirDes called dhdtri, i.e. holding all tilings, and 
sometimes vidhdiri, i.e. letting loose all tilings. It is also 
called the dwelling -plaee of every living being, and by 
various other names, which differ as people differ in 
their opinions about the vacuum. Those who believe 
in the vacuum make it the cause why all bodies are 
attracted towards it, whilst those who deny the vacuum 
declare that it is not the cause of the attraction. 

Then the author of the Vishnu- Pur ana returns to the 
Lokas and says: " Everything which a foot can tread 
upon and a ship sail in, is BhurloJm." This seems to 
be an indication of the surface of the uppermost earth. 
The air, which is between the earth and the sun, in 
which the Siddhas, the Munis, and the Gandharvas, 
the musicians, wander to and fro, is the BhuvarloJca. 
The whole of -these three earths is called the three 
jyrithivi. That which is above them is Vydsa-mandala, 
i.e. the realm of Vyasa. The distance between the 
earth and sun is 100,000 yojana, that between the sun 
and the moon is the same. The distance between the 
moon and i\Iercury is two lakshas, i.e. 200,000 yojana, 
that between Mercury and Venus is the same. The 
distances between Venus and Mars, Mars and Jupiter, 
Jupiter and Saturn, are equal, each being 200,000 
yojana. The distance between Saturn and the Great 
Bear is 100,000 yojana, and that from the Great Bear 
to the pole is looo yojana. Above it is Maharloka, at 
a distance of 20 millions of yojana ; above it, the Jina- 
loka, at a distance of 80 millions ; above it, Fitriloha, at 
a distance f 480 millions ; above it, Satyaloka.'^ 

This sum, however, is more than thrice the sum 
which we have mentioned on the authority of the com- 
mentator of the book of Patanjali, i.e. 150,000 yojana. 
lUit such is the custom of the copyists and scribes in 
every nation, and I cannot declare the students of the 
Puranas to be free from it, for they are not men of 
exact learning. 

( ^39 ) 



The pole, in the language of the Hindus, is called The origin 
dhruva, and the axis saldka. The Hindus, with the poie, and 
exception of their astronomers, speak always only of somadatta. 
one pole, the reason of which is their belief in the dome 
of heaven, as we have heretofore explained. According 
to Vdyu-Purdna, heaven revolves round the pole like a 
potter's wheel, and the pole revolves round itself, with- 
out changing its own place. This revolution is finished 
in 30 imihilrta, i.e. in one nychthemeron. 

Regarding the south pole, I have heard from them 
only one story or tradition, viz. the following. They 
had once a king called Somadatta, who by his noble 
deeds had deserved paradise; bnt he did not like the 
idea of his body being torn away from his soul when 
he should depart into the other world. Now he called 
on the Rishi Yasishtha, and told to him that he loved 
his body, and did not wish to be separated from it ; bnt 
the Rishi informed him that it was impossible to take 
along with oneself the material body from this world 
into paradise. Thereupon he laid his desire before the 
children of Yasishtha; however, these spat in his face, 
scoffed at him, and changed him into a canddla with 
ear-rings in both ears, and clad in a kuriak (i.e. a short 
shirt worn by the women round the shoulders, reaching 
down to the middle of the body). When he came in 
this condition to the Rishi, Yisvamitra, the latter found 
him to be a disgusting spectacle, and asked him what 


was the reason of his appearing so, whereupon Soma- 
datta informed him, and told him the wiiole story. 
Now Visvilmitra became very angry on his account ; he 
Page I20. ordered the Brahmans into his presence in order to per- 
form a great sacrifice, among those also the children of 
Vasishtha, and he spoke to them : '-'I wish to make a 
new world, and a new paradise for this pious king, that 
there he may obtain the fulfilment of his wish." There- 
upon he began to make the pole and the Great Bear in 
the south, but then Indra, the ruler, and the spiritual 
beings began to fear him. They went to him, humbled 
themselves before him, and asked him to desist from 
the work he had commenced on this condition, that 
they would carry Somadatta with his bodt/, just as it 
was, into paradise. This they did, and in consequence 
the Rishi desisted from making a second world, but 
that which he had already made up to that moment 

It is well known that the north pole with us is called 
the Great Bear, the south pole Canopus. But some of 
our people (Muslims) who do not rise above the unedu- 
cated mass, maintain that in the south of heaven too 
there is a Great Bear of the same shape as the northern, 
which revolves round the southern pole. 

Such a thing would not be impossible nor even 
strange, if the report about it came from a trust- 
worthy man, who had made long sea-voyages. Cer- 
tainly in southern regions stars are seen which we do 
s.-ipaiaon uot kuow iu our latitudes. So Sripala says that the 
iMa^^'^Aij.-ii- people of Multan see in summer time a red star a little 
below the meridian of Canopus, which they call Sfda, 
i.e. the beam of cracijixion, and that the Hindus consider 
it as unlucky. Therefore, when the moon stands in 
the station Piirvabhadrapada, the Hindus do not travel 
towards the south, because this star stands in the 

Aljaihani relates, in his Book of Routes, that on the 

baui on tiie 
guptaon the 


island Langabalus there is a large star visible, known 
as the fever-star. It appears in winter about morning 
dawn in the east as high as a date-palm tree, having an 
oblong shape, composed of the tail of the Small Bear 
and his back, and of some small stars situated there ; 
it is called the axe of the mill. Brahmaguj^ta mentions 
it in connection with the Fish. The Hindus tell rather 
ludicrous tales when sjDeaking of the figure in which 
they represent this group of stars, viz. the figure of a 
four-footed aquatic animal, which they call SaJcvara. and 
also Sisumdra. I suppose that the latter animal is the 
great lizard, for in Persia it is called Susmdr, which 
sounds much like the Indian Simmdra. Of this kind 
of animals there is also an aquatic species, similar to 
the crocodile and the skink. One of those tales is the 

When Brahman wanted to create mankind, he divided The story of 
himself into two halves, of which the right one was 
called Virdj, the left one Manu. The latter one is the 
being from whom the period of time called Manvantara 
has received its name. Manu had two sons, Priyavrata 
and Uttanapada, the bow-legged king. The latter had 
a son called Dltruva, who w^as slighted by one of the 
wives of his father. On account of this, he was pre- 
sented with the power to turn round all the stars as he 
pleased. He appeared in the Manvantara of Svayam- 
bhuva, the first of all Manvantaras, and he has for ever 
remained in his place. 

The Vdyu-Purdna says : " The wind drives the stars Quotations 

.'in T -1 • • • -1 1 J. f™'^ Vdyu- 

round the pole, which are bound to it by ties invisible to PMnmaand 
man. They move round like the beam in the olive-press, Dharma. 
for its bottom is, as it were, standing still, whilst its end 
is moving round. 

The Vishnu-Dharma says : " Vajra, one of the children 
of Balabhadra, the brother of Narayana, asked the Rishi Page 121. 
Markandeya as to the pole, upon which he answered : 
When God created the world, it was dark and desert. 



Thereupon he made the globe of the sun shining, and 
the globes of the stars watery, receiving the light of 
the snn from that side of his which he turns towards 
them. Fourteen of these stars he placed round the 
pole in the shape of a sisnmdra, which drive the other 
stars round the pole. One of them, north of the pole, 
on the uppermost chin, is Uttanapada, on the lowest 
chin Yajna, on the head Dharma, on the breast Nara- 
yana, on the two hands towards the east the two stars 
Asvini the physicians, on the two feet Varuna, and 
Aryaman towards the west, on the penis Samwatsara, 
on the back Mitra, on the tail Agni, Mahendra, Marici, 
and Kasyapa." 

The pole itself is Vishnu, the ruler of the inhabitants 
of paradise ; he is, further, the time rising, growing, 
getting old, and vanishing. 

Further, the Vishim-Dharma says: "If a man reads 
this and knows it accurately, God pardons to him the 
sins of that day, and fourteen years will be added to 
his life, the length of which has been fixed before- 

How simple those people are ! Among us there are 
scholars who know between 1020 to 1030 stars. Should 
those men breathe and receive life from God only on 
account of their knowledge of stars ? 

All the stars revolve, whatever may be the position 
of the pole with regard to them. 

If I had found a Hindu able to point out to me with 
his finger the single stars, I should have been able to 
identify them with the star-figures known among Greeks 
and Arabs, or with stars in the neighbourhood in case 
they did not belong to any of these figures. 

( 243 ) 



We begin with the description of this mountain, since Braimm- 
it is the centre of the Dvipas and seas, and, at the same th? earth 
time, the centre of Jambudvipa. Brahmagnpta says : Mem. 
" Manifold are the opinions of people relating to the 
description of the earth and to Mount Meru, particu- 
larly among those who study the Puranas and the reli- 
gious literature. Some describe this mountain as rising 
above the surface of the earth to an excessive height. 
It is situated under the j)ole, and the stars revolve 
round its foot, so that rising and setting depends upon 
Meru. It is called Meru because of its having the 
faculty of doing this, and because it depends alone 
upon the influence of its head that sun and moon 
become visible. The day of the angels who inhabit 
Meru lasts six months, and their night also six 

Brahmagupta quotes the following passage from the 
book of Jina, i.e. Buddha: "Mount Meru is quad- 
rangular, not round." 

The commentator Balabhadra says: "Some people Baiabhadra 
say that the earth is flat, and that Mount Meru is an subject. 
illuminating, light-giving body. However, if such were 
the case, the planets would not revolve round the 
horizon of the inhabitants of Meru, and if it were 
shining it would be visible because of its height, as the 



pole above it is visible. According to some, Meru con- 
sists of gold ; according to others it consists of jewels. 
Aryabhata thinks that it has not absolute height, but 
only the height of 07ie yojana, and that it is round, not 
quadrangular, the realm of the angels; that it is in- 
visible, although shining, because it is very distant from 
the inhabited earth, being situated entirely in the high 
north, in the cold zone, in the centre of a desert called 
Nandana-vana. However, if it were of a great height, 
it would not be possible on the 66th degree of latitude 
for the whole Tropic of Cancer to be visible, and for the 
sun to revolve on it, being always visible without ever 

All that Balabhadra 23roduces is foolish both in words 
and matter, and I cannot find why he felt himself called 
upon to write a commentary if he had nothing better 
to say. 

If he tries to refute the theory of the flatness of the 
earth by the planets revolving round the horizon of 
Meru, this argument would go nearer proving the 
theory than refuting it. For if the earth were a flat 
expanse, and everything high 
on earth were parallel to the 
perpendicular height of Meru, 
there would be no change of 
horizon, and the same horizon 
would be the equinox for all 
places on earth. 

On the words of Aryabhata 
as quoted by Balabhadra we 
make the following remarks. 
Let A B be the globe of the earth ronnd the centre 
H. Further, A is a place on the earth in the 66th de- 
gree of latitude. AVe cut off from the circle the arc 
A B, equal to the greatest declination. Then B is the 
place in the zenith of which the pole stands. 

Further, we draw the line A C touching the globe in 


the point A. This line lies in the plane of the horizon 
as far as the human eye reaches round the earth. 

We join the points A and H with each other, 
and draw the line H B C, so that it is met in C by 
the line A C. Further, we let fall the perpendicular 
A T on H C. Now, it is evident that — 

A T is the sine of the greatest declination ; 

T B the versed sine of the greatest declination ; 

T H the sine of the complement of the greatest declination. 

And as we here occupy ourselves with Aryabhata, 
we shall, according to his system, change the sines in 
Jcardajd t. A ccor d ingly — 

AT = 1397. 
TH = 3140. 
B T = 298. 

Because the angle H A C is a right angle, we have 
the equation — 

H T : T A = T A : T C. 

And the square of A T is 1,951.609. If we divide it 
by T H, we get as quotient 622. 

The difference between this number and T B is 324, 
which is B 0. And the relation of B C to B H, the latter 
being sinus ^o^?/s=3438, is the same as the relation of 
the number of yojanas of B C to the yojanas of B H, The 
latter number is, according to Aryabhata, 800. If it 
is multiplied by the just-mentioned difference of 324 
we get the sum of 259,200. And if we divide this 
number by the sinus totus we get 75 as quotient, which 
is the number of yojanas of B C, equal to 600 miles or 
200 farsakh. 

If the perpendicular of a mountain is 200 farsalh, 
the ascent will be nearly the double. Whether Mount 
Meru has such a height or not, nothing of it can be 
visible in the 66th degree of latitude, and it would not 
cover anything of the Tropic of Cancer at all (so as to 
intercept from it the light of the sun). And if for those 


latitudes (66° and 23°) Meru is under the horizon, it 
is also under the horizon for all places of less latitude. 
If you compare Meru with a luminous body like the sun, 
you know that the sun sets and disappears under the 
earth. Indeed Meru may be compared with the earth. 
It is not invisible to us because of its being far away 
in the cold zone, but because it lies below the horizon, 
because the earth is a globe, and everything heavy is 
attracted towards its centre. 

Aryabhata further tries to prove that Mount Meru 
has only a moderate height by the fact that the Tropic 
of Cancer is visible in places the latitude of which is 
equal to the complement of the greatest declination. 
We must remark that this argument is not valid, for we 
know the conditions of the lines of latitude and other 
lines in those countries only through ratiocination, not 
from eyesight nor from tradition, because they are unin- 
habited and their roads are impassable. 

If a man has come from those parts to Aryabhata and 
told him that the Tropic of Cancer is visible in that lati- 
tude, we may meet this by stating that a man has also 
come to us from the same region telling us that one 
part of it is there invisible. The only thing which 
covers the Tropic of Cancer is this mountain Meru. If 
Meru did not exist, the whole tropic would be visible. 
Who, now, has been able to make out which of the 
two reports deserves most credit ? 

In the book of Aryabhata of Kusumapura we read 
that the mountain Meru is in Himavant, the cold zone, 
not higher than a yojana. In the translation, however, 
it has been rendered so as to express that it is not higher 
than Himavant by more than a yojana. 

This author is not identical with the elder Arya- 
bhata, but he belongs to his followers, for he quotes 
him and follows his example. I do not know which of 
these two namesakes is meant by Balabhadra. 

In general, what we know of the conditions of the 


place of this mountain we know only by ratiocination. 
About the mountain itself they have many traditions. 
Some give it the height of one yojana, others more ; 
some consider it as quadrangular, others as an octagon. 
We shall now lay before the reader what the Rishis 
teach regarding this mountain. 

The Matsya-Purdiia says : "It is golden and shining Matsya- 
like fire which is not dulled by smoke. It has four onMmmt 
different colours on its four sides. The colour of the the moun- 
eastern side is white like the colour of the Brahmins, the earth, 
that of the northern is red like that of the Kshatriya, 
that of the southern is yellow like the colour of the 
Yaisya, and that of the western is black like the colour 
of the Sudra. It is 86,000 yojana high, and 16,000 of 
these yojana lie within the earth. Each of its four sides 
has 34,000 yojana. There are rivers of sweet water 
running in it, and beautiful golden houses inhabited 
by the spiritual beings, the Deva, by their singers the 
Gandharva, and their harlots the Apsaras. Also Asuras, 
Daityas, and Eakshasas are living in it. Round the 
mountain lies the pond Manasa, and around it to all 
four sides are the Lokajpdla, i.e. the guardians of the 
world and its inhabitants. Mount Meru has seven 
knots, i.e. great mountains, the names of which are 
Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Suktibam (?), Rikshabam (?), 
Vindhya, Pariyatra. The small mountains are nearly 
innumerable ; they are those which are inhabited by 

"The great mountains round Meru are the follow- 
ing : Himavant, always covered with snow, inhabited 
by the Rakshasa, Pisaca, and Yaksha. Hemakuta, 
the golden, inhabited by the Gandharva and Apsaras. 
Nishadha, inhabited by the Naga or snakes, which have 
the following seven princes : Ananta, Yasuki, Tak- 
shaka, Karkotaka, Mahapadma, Kambala, Asvatara. 
Nila, peacock-like, of many colours, inhabited by the 
Siddha and Brahmarshi, the anchorites. The mountain Page 124 



The com- 
mentator of 
on the same 

Sveta, inhabited by the Daitya and Danava. The 
mountain Sringavant, inhabited by the Pitaras, the 
fathers and grandfathers of the Deva. Not far to the 
north of this mountain there are mountain-passes full 
of jewels and of trees which remain during a whole 
kalpa. And in the centre of these mountains is 
Ilavrita, the highest of all. The whole is called 
Furiishajjarvata. The region between the Himavant 
and the Sriiigavant is called Kailasa, the play-ground of 
the Rakshasa and Apsaras." 

The Vishnu-Purdna says : "The great mountains of 
the middle earth are Sri-parvata, Malaya-parvata, Mfd- 
yavant, Vindhya, Trikuta, Tripurantika, and Kailasa. 
Their inhabitants drink the water of the rivers, and live 
in eternal bliss." 

The Vdyu-Purdna contains similar statements about 
the four sides and the height of Meru as the hitherto 
quoted Puranas. Besides, it says that on each side of it 
there is a quadrangular mountain, in the east the Mal- 
yavant, in the north Anila, in the west the Gandhama- 
dana, and in the south the Nishadha. 

The Aditya-Purdna gives the same statement about 
the size of each of its four sides which we have quoted 
from the Matsya-Purdna, but I have not found in it a 
statement about the height of Meru. According to this 
Purana, its east side is of gold, the west of silver, the 
south of rubies, the north of different jewels. 

The extravagant notions of the dimensions of Meru 
would be impossible if they had not the same extrava- 
gant notions regarding the earth, and if there is no 
limit fixed to guesswork, guesswork may without any 
hindrance develop into lying. For instance, the com- 
mentator of the book of Patanjali not only makes Meru 
quadrangular, but even oblong. The length of one side 
he fixes at 15 koti, i.e. 150,000,000 yojana, whilst he 
fixes the length of the other three sides only at the 
third of this, i.e. 5 Jcoti. Regarding the four sides of 



Meru, he says that on the east are the mountain 
Malava and the ocean, and between them the kingdoms 
called Bhadmsva. On the north are Nila, Sita, Sringa- 
dri, and the ocean, and between them the kingdoms 
Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, and Kurn. On the west are the 
mountain Gandhamadana and the ocean, and between 
them the kingdom Ketumfda. On the south are 
Mravarta (?), Nishadha, Hemakuta, Himagiri, and the 
ocean, and between them the kingdoms Bbaratavarsha, 
Kimpurusha, and Harivarsha. 

This is all I could find of Hindu traditions regarding 
Meru ; and as I have never found a Buddhistic book, 
and never knew a Buddhist from whom I might have 
learned their theories on this subject, all I relate of 
them I can only relate on the authority of Aleranshahri, 
though, according to my mind, his report has no claim 
to scientific exactness, nor is it the report of a man who 
has a scientific knowledge of the subject. According 
to him, the Buddhists believe that Meru lies between 
four worlds in the four cardinal directions ; that it is 
square at the bottom and round at the top ; that it has 
the length of 80,000 yojana, one half of which rises into 
heaven, whilst the other half goes down into the earth. 
That side which is next to our world consists of blue 
sapphires, which is the reason why heaven appears to 
us blue ; the other sides are of rubies, yellow and white 
gems. Thus ]\Ieru is the centre of the earth. 

The mountain Kdf, as it is called by our common 
people, is with the Hindus the Lokaloka. They main- P^vge 125. 
tain that the sun revolves from Lokaloka towards 
Meru, and that he illuminates only its inner northern 

Similar views are held by the Zoroastrians of S02'- AUadition 

•^ ^ ^ ° of the Zoro- 

diana, viz. that the mountain Ardiya surrounds the astriansof 

. . . Sogdiaiia. 

world ; that outside of it is hliom, similar to the pupil of 
the eye, in which there is something of everything, and 
that behind it there is a vacuum. In the centre of the 


world is the mountain Girnagar, between onr KXtjia 
and the six other /cAt/xara, the throne of heaven. Be- 
tween each two there is burning sand, on which no 
foot could stand. The spheres revolve in the climata 
like mills, but in ours they revolve in an inclined course, 
because our clima, that one inhabited by mankind, is 
the uppermost. 



We must ask the reader not to take anv offence if he Description 
finds all the words and meanings which occur m the :)ccor.iing to 
present chapter to be totally dinerent irom anything Awivishnu 
corresponding in Arabic. Asfor the difference of w^ords, 
it is easily accounted for by the difference of languages 
in general ; and as regards the difference of the meanings, 
we mention them only either in order to draw attention 
to an idea which might seem acceptable even to a 
Muslim, or to point out the irrational nature of a thing 
which has no foundation in itself. 

We have already spoken of the central Dvipa when 
describing the environs of the mountain in its centre. 
It is called Jambii-Dvipa, from a tree growing in it, the p^f'™^^^" 
branches of which extend over a space of lOO yojana. 
In a later chapter, devoted to the description of the 
inhabitable world and its division, we shall finish the 
description of Jambu-Dvipa. Next, however, we shall 
describe the other Dvipas which surround it, following, 
as regards the order of the names, the authority of 
Matsya-Purdna, for the above-mentioned reason (v. p. 
236). But before entering into this subject we shall 
here insert a tradition of the Vdyu-Purdna regarding 
the central Dvipa (Jambu-Dvipa). 

According to this source, "there are two kinds of JJJ;®s"of^^^' 
inhabitants in Madhyadesa. First the Kimpurusha. Madi.ya- 
Their men are known as the sfold-coloured ones, their ^"l^i"^*^' 
women as surenu. They live a long life without ever «^«- 


being ill. They never commit a sin, and do not know- 
envy. Their food is a juice which they express from 
the dates of the palm trees, called madya (?). The 
second kind are the Hariimrusha, having the colour 
of silver. They live ii,ooo years, are beardless, and 
their food is sugar-cane." Since they are described as 
beardless and silver-coloured, one might be ioclined to 
take them for Turks ; but the fact of their eating dates 
and sugar-cane compels ns to see in them a more south- 
ern nation. But where do we find people of the colour 
of gold or silver ? We know only of the colour of burnt 
silver, which occurs, e.g. among the Zanj, who lead a 
life without sorrow and envy, as they do not possess 
anything which gives birth to these passions. They 
live no doubt longer than we, but only a little longer, 
and by no means twice as long. The Zanj are so un- 
civilised that they have no notion of a natural death. 
If a man dies a natural death, they think he was 
poisoned. Every death is suspicious with them, if a 
man has not been killed by a weapon. Likewise it is 
regarded with suspicion by them, if a man is touched 
by the breath of a consumptive person. 

2. Saka- We shall now describe Sdka-Dvipa. It has, according 

to the Matsya-Purdna, seven great rivers, one of w^hich 
equals the Ganges in purity. In the first ocean there 
are seven mountains adorned with jewels, some of which 
are inhabited by Devas, others by demons. One of them 
is a golden, lofty mountain, whence the clouds rise 
which bring us the rain. Another contains all the 

Page 126. medicines. Indra, the ruler, takes from it the rain. 
Another one is called Soma. Regarding this mountain 
they relate the following story : — 

The story of Kasyapa had two wives, Kadru, the mother of the 

vinata. snakes, and Vinata, the mother of the birds. Both 

Garuda libe- ■..-,. i • i j i -i tx 

rates bis lived lu a plain where there was a grey horse. How- 

meansofThe ever, the mother of the snakes maintained that the 

'"" '^' horse was brown. Now they made the covenant that 


she who v/as wrong should become the slave of the 
other, but they postponed the decision till the follow- 
ing day. In the following night the mother of the 
snakes sent her black children to the horse, to wind 
themselves round it and to conceal its colour. In con- 
sequence the mother of the birds became her slave for 
a time. 

The latter, Vinata, had two children, Anuru, the 
guardian of the tower of the sun, which is drawn by 
the horses, and Garuda. The latter spoke to his mother : 
"Demand from the children nourished at your breast 
what may restore you to liberty." This she did. 
People also spoke to her of the ambrosia (amrita), 
which is with the Devas. Thereupon Garuda flew to 
the Devas and demanded it from them, and they ful- 
filled his wish. For Amrita is one of those things 
peculiar to them, and if somebody else gets it, he lives 
as long as the Devas. He humbled himself before them 
in order to obtain the Amrita, for the purpose of freeing 
therewith his mother, at the same time promising to 
bring it back afterwards. They had pity upon him, 
and gave it him. Thereupon Garuda went to the 
mountain Soma, in which the Devas were living. 
Garuda gave the Amrita to the Devas, and thereby 
freed his mother. Then he spoke to them : " Do hot 
come near the Amrita unless you have before bathed 
in the river Ganges." This they did, and left the 
Amrita where it was. Meanwhile Garuda brought it 
back to the Devas, and obtained thereby a high rank 
in sanctity, so that he became the king of all the birds 
and the riding-bird of Vishnu. 

The inhabitants of Saka-Dvipa are pious, long-lived 
beings, who can dispense with the rule of kings, since 
they do not know envy nor ambition. Their lifetime, 
not capable of any change, is as long as a Tretayuga. 
The four colours are among them, i.e. the different 
castes, which do not intermarry nor mix with each other. 


They live in eternal joy, without ever being sorry. 
According to Vishnu- Purdna, the names of their castes 
are Aryaka, Kurura, Yiviriisa (Vivarhsa), and Bhavin (?), 
and they worship Vasudeva. 

3. Kusa- The third Dvipa is Kusa-Dvipa. According to the 

Matsya-Furdna it has seven mountains containing 
jewels, fruit, flowers, odoriferous plants, and cereals. 
One of them, named Drona, contains famous medicines 
or drugs, particularly the I'isalyakarana, which heals 
every wound instantaneously, and mritasamjivan, which 
restores the dead to life. Another one, called hari, is 
similar to a black cloud. On this mountain there is a 
fire called Mahisha, which has come out of the water, 
and will remain there till the destruction of the world ; 
it is this very fire which will burn the world. Kusa- 
Dvipa has seven kingdoms and innumerable rivers 
flowing to the sea, which are then changed by Indra 
into rain. To the greatest rivers belong Jaunu (Ya- 
muna), which purifies from all sins. About the in- 
habitants of this Dvipa, Matsy a- Purdna does not give 
any information. According to Vishnu- Purdna the 
inhabitants are pious, sinless people, every one of them 
living 10,000 years. They worship Jandrdana, and 
the names of their castes are Damin, Sushmin, Sneha, 
and Mandeha. 

4. Kiiiuncu- The fourth, or Kraunca-Dvipa, has, according to the 
^^^^''' 3Iatsya-PuTdna, mountains containing jewels, rivers 

which are branches of the Ganges, and kingdoms the 
people of which have a white colour and are pious and 
Page 127. pure. According to Vishnu-Pur ana the people there 
live in one and the same place without any distinction 
among members of the community, but afterwards it 
says that the names of their castes are Pushkara, 
Pushkala, Dhanya, and Tishya (?). They worship 

5. sairnaia- The fifth, or Sillmala-Dvlpa, has, according to the 
^''^'''^' Matsya-Purdna, mountains and rivers. Its inhabitants 


are pure, long-lived, mild, and never angry. They 
never suffer from drought or dearth, for their food 
comes to them simply in answer to their wishes, with- 
out their sowing or toiling. They come into exist- 
ence without being born ; they are never ill nor sorry. 
They do not require the rule of kings, since they do not 
know the desire for property. They live contented and 
in safety ; they always prefer that which is good and 
love virtue. The climate of this Dvipa never alters in 
cold or heat, so they are not bound to protect them- 
selves against either. They have no rain, but the 
water bubbles up for them out of the earth and drops 
down from the mountains. This is also the case in 
the following Dvipas. The inhabitants are of one kind, 
without any distinction of caste. Every one lives 3000 

According to the Vishnu- Pur dim they have beauti- 
ful faces and worship Bhagavat. They bring offerings 
to the fire, and every one of them lives 10,000 years. 
The names of their castes are Kapila, Aruna, Pita, 
and Krishna. 

The sixth, or Gomeda-Dvipa, has, according to the e. Gomeda. 
Matsya-Purdna, two great mountains, the deep-black "^*' 
Stomanas, which encompasses the greatest part of the 
Dvipa, and the Kumuda, of golden colour and very 
lofty ; the latter one contains all medicines. This 
Dvipa has two kingdoms. 

According to Vishnu- Purdna the inhabitants are 
pious and without sin and worship A^ishnu. The 
names of their castes are Mriga, Magadha, Manasa, and 
Mandaga. The climate of this Dvipa is so healthy and 
pleasant that the inhabitants of paradise now and then 
visit it on account of the fragrancy of its air. 

The seventh, or Pushkara-Dvipa, has, accordino- to yPushkara- 
the Matsya-Purdna, in its eastern part the mountain 
Oitrasdld, i.e. having a variegated roof with horns of 
jewels. Its height is 34,000 yojana, and its circum- 


ference 25,000 yojanct. In the west lies the mountain 
Manasa, shining like the full moon ; its height is 
35,000 yojana. This mountain has a son who protects 
his father against the west. In the east of this Dvipa 
are two kingdoms where every inhabitant lives 10,000 
years. The water bubbles up for them out of the 
earth, and drops down from the mountains. They 
have no rain and no flowing river ; they know neither 
summer nor winter. They are of one kind, without 
any distinction of caste. They never suffer from 
dearth, and do not get old. Everything they wish for 
comes to them, whilst they live quiet and happy with- 
out knowing anything else but virtue. It is as if they 
were in the suburb of paradise. All bliss is given to 
them; they live long and are without ambition. So 
there is no service, no rule, no sin, no envy, no oppo- 
sition, no debating, no toiling in agriculture and dili- 
gence in trading. 

According to the Vishim-Furdna, Pushkara-Dvipa is 
so called from a large tree, which is also called nya- 
groclha. Under this tree is Brahma-ruj^a, i.e. the figure 
of Brahman, worshipped by the Deva and Dauava. 
The inhabitants are equal among each other, not claim- 
ing any superiority, whether they be human beings or 
beings associating with the Devas. In this Dvipa 
there is only a single mountain, called Mcinasottama, 
which rises in a round form on the round Dvipa. From 
its top all the other Dvipas are visible, for its height 
is 50,000 yojana^ and the breadth the same. 

( 257 ) 



The Vdyu-Purdna enumerates the rivers rising in the Page 128. 
well-known great mountains which we have mentioned tromV^w- 
as the knots of Mount Meru {vide p. 247). To facili- ^"'■"•''• 
tate the study we exhibit them in the following table : — 

The Great Knots. 

Malaya . 

Sahya . 


Riksha . 


VOL. I. 

Names of the Rivers which rise in them in 
Nagarasam vritta. 

Trisaga, Rishikulya, Ikshula, TripavS, (?), 
Ayana (?), LangAlini, Varii.savara. 

Kritamala, Tamravarna, Pushpajati, Utpala- 
vati (!). 

God^vari, Bhimarathi, Krishna, Vainyfi, Sa- 
vafijula, Tungabhadra, Suprayog<i,Pajaya (?), 

Rishika, Brduka (!), Kumari, Mandav^hini, 
Kirpa (!), Palasini. 

Sona, Mahanada, Narmada, Surasa, Kirva (?), 
Mandakini, Dasarna, Citrakuhi, Tamasa, 
Pipyala, Sroni, Karamoda (?), Pisabika (?), 
Citrapala, Mahavega, Banjul^, Baluvaliini, 
Suktimati, Shakruna (?), Tridiva. 

Tapi, Payoshni, Nirbindhya, Sirva (?), Nish- 
adha, Venva, Vaitarani, Sini, Hahu (!) 
Kumudvati, Toba, Mahagauri, Durga, 

Vedasmriti, Vedavati, Vritraglmi (?) Parnasa, 
Naiidana, Saddana (?), Ramadi (?), Para, 
Carmanvati, Li\pa (?), Vidisa. 



The rivers of The Mataya-V'iiTana and Vdyu-Furdria mention the 
AsiTfsing rivers flowiDg in Jambu-Dvipa, and say that they rise 
layaandits" in the mountains of Himavant. In the following table 
towesrand we simply enumerate them, without following any 
*'^^^' particular principle of arrangement. The reader must 

imagine that the mountains form the boundaries of 
India. The northern mountains are the snowy Hima- 
vant. In their centre lies Kashmir, and they are con- 
nected with the country of the Turks. This mountain 
region becomes colder and colder till the end of the 
inhabitable world and Mount Meru. Because this 
Page 129. mountain has its chief extension in longitude, the rivers 
rising on its north side flow through the countries of the 
Turks, Tibetans, Khazars, and Slavonians, and fall into the 
Sea of Jurjan (the Caspian Sea), or the sea of Khwarizm 
(the Aral Sea), or the Sea Pontus (the Black Sea), or the 
northern Sea of the Slavonians (the Baltic) ; whilst the 
rivers rising on the southern slopes flow through India 
and fall into the great ocean, some reaching it single, 
others combined. 
Rivers of The rivers of India come either from the cold moun- 


tains in the north or from the eastern mountains, both 
of which in reality form one and the same chain, ex- 
tending towards the east, and then turning towards the 
south until they reach the great ocean, where parts of 
it penetrate into the sea at the place called the Dike of 
Rama. Of course, these mountains differ very much 
in cold and heat. 

We exhibit the names of the rivers in the following 
table : — 



Sindh or 

the river 

of Vaihand. 

or Jailam. 

Candrabhaga Biyaha 
or to the west 
Candr&ha. of Lahore. 

Iravati to 

the east of 




the country 



noA^A Sarayu 
^^^g^- or Sarwa. 





,,.,,, Bahuda- 
^'^^'''- 1 sa {!). 





Dnshadvati. ^^ 






Kawana. | Para. 

Carman vati. 


S'ipra, rises 

in the 


and passes 


Karatoya. Shmahina. 

In the mountains bordering on the kingdom of Kaya- siudhriv 
bish, i.e. Kabul, rises a river which is called Ghorwand, Page 130. 
on account of its many branches. It is joined by 
several affluents : — 

1. The river of the pass of Ghuzak. 

2. The river of the gorge of Panchir, below the town 
of Parwan. 

3. 4. The river Sharvat and the river Sawa, which 
latter flows through the town of Lanbaga, i.e. Lamghan ; 
they join the Ghorvand at the fortress of Driita. 

5, 6. The rivers Niir and Kira. 

Swelled by these affluents, the Ghorvand is a great 
river opposite the town of Purshavar, being there called 
the ford, from a ford near the village of Mahanara, on 
the eastern banks of the river, and it falls into the river 
Sindh near the castle of Bitur, below the capital of 
Alkandahar (Gandhara), i.e. Vaihand. 

The river Biyatta, known as Jailam, from the city of 


Rivers of tliis name on its western banks, and the river Canda- 
raha join each other nearly Sfty miles above Jahravar, 
and pass along west of Multan. 

The river Biyah flows east of Mnltan, and joins after- 
wards the Biyatta and Candaraha. 

The river IrCiva is joined by the river Kaj, which rises 
in Nagarkot in the mountains of Bhatul. Thereupon 
follows as the fifth the river Shatladar (Satlej). 

After these five rivers have united below Multan 
at a place called Fancanada, i.e. the meeting-place of 
the five rivers, they form an enormous watercourse. 
In flood-times it sometimes swells to such a degree 
as to cover nearly a space of ten farsakh, and to rise 
above the tree of the plains, so that afterwards the 
rubbish carried by the floods is found in their highest 
branches like birds-nests. 

The Muslims call the river, after it has passed the 
Sindhi city Aror, as a united stream, the river of 
Mihrdn. Thus it extends, flowing straight on, be- 
coming broader and broader, and gaining in purity of 
water, enclosing in its course places like islands, until 
it reaches Almansura, situated between several of its 
arms, and flows into the ocean at two places, near the 
city Loharani, and more eastward in the province of 
Kacch at a place called SincUm-sdgara, i.e. the Sindh 
Eraiiian As the name union of the five rivers occurs in this 

tradition. ^^^^^ ^£ ^^^ ^orld (in Panjab), we observe that a similar 
name is used also to the north of the above-mentioned 
mountain chains, for the rivers which flow thence 
towards the north, after having united near Tirmidh 
and having formed the river of Balkh, are called tlie 
union of the seven rivers. The Zoroastrians of Sogdiana 
have confounded these two things ; for they say that 
the whole of the seven rivers is Sindh, and its upper 
course Baridish. A man descending on it sees the 
sinking of the sun on his right side if he turns his 


face towards the west, as we see it here on onr left 
side (sic). 

The river Sarsati falls into the sea at the distance of various 
a bowshot east of Somanath. india. 

The river Jaun joins the Ganges below Kanoj, which 
lies west of it. The united stream falls into the great 
ocean near Gaiigasagara. 

Between the months of the rivers Sarsati and Ganges 
is the mouth of the river Narmada, which descends 
from the eastern mountains, takes its course in a south- 
western direction, and falls into the sea near the town 
Bahroj, nearly sixty yojana east of Somanath. 

Behind the Ganges flow the rivers Eahab and Ka- 
wini, which join the river Sarwa near the city of Bari. 

The Hindus believe that the Ganges in ancient times 
flowed in Paradise, and w^e shall relate at a subsequent 
opportunity how it happened to come down upon 

The Matsya-PuTctna says: "After the Ganges had Quotation 
settled on earth, it divided itself into seven arms, the Mat^ya- 
middle of which is the main stream, known as the 
Ganges. Three flowed eastward, Nalini, Hradini, 
and Pavani, and three westward, Sita, Cakshu, and 

The river Sita rises in the Himavant, and flows 
through these countries : Salila, Karstuba, Cina, Yar- 
vara, Yavasa (?), Baha, Pushkara, Kulata, Maiigala, 
Kavara, and Saiigavanta (?) ; then it falls into the 
western ocean. 

South of Sita flows the river Cakshu s, which irrigates 
the countries Cina, Maru, Kalika (?), Dhiilika (?), Tuk- 
hara, Barbara, Kaca (?), Palhava, and Barwancat. 

The river Sindh flows through the countries Sindhu, 
Darada, Zindutuuda (?), Gandhara, Eiirasa (?), Krura (?), 
Sivapaura, Indramaru, Sabati (?), Saindhava, Kubata, 
Bahimarvara, Mara, Mruna, and Sukiirda. 

The river Ganges, which is the middle and main 

Page 131 

Pur una. 


stream, flows through the Gandharva, the musicians, 
Kimnara, Yakshas, Eakshasa, Vidyadhara, Uraga, i.e. 
those who creep on their breasts, the serpents, Kalapa- 
grama, i.e. the city of the most virtuous, Kimpurusha, 
Khasa (?), the mountaineers, Kirata, Pulinda, the 
hunters in the plains, robbers, Kuru, Bharata, Pancala, 
Kaushaka (?), Matsya, Magadha, Brahmottara, and 
Tamalipta. These are the good and bad beings 
through whose territories the Ganges flows. After- 
wards it enters into branches of the mountain Vin- 
dhya, where the elephants live, and then it falls into 
the southern ocean. 

Of the eastern Ganges arms, the Hradini flows through 
the countries Nishaba, Upakana, Dhivara, Prishaka, 
Nilamukha, Kikara, Ushtrakarna, i.e. people whose lips 
are turned like their ears, Kirata, Kalidara, Vivarna, i.e. 
the colourless people, so called on account of their intense 
blackness, Kushikana, and Svargabhumi, i.e. a country 
like Paradise. Finally it falls into the eastern ocean. 

The river Pavani gives water to the Kupatha (?), who 
are far from sin, Indradyumnasaras, i.e. the cisterns of 
the king Indradyumna, Kharapatha, Bitra, and Sanku- 
patha. It flows through the steppe Udyanamariira, 
through the country of the Kusapravarana, and Indra- 
dvipa, and afterwards it falls into the salt sea. 

The river Nalini flows through Tfimara, Haiiisamarga, 
Sam iih Ilka, and Piirna. All these are pious people who 
abstain from evil. Then it flows through the midst of 
mountains and passes by the Karnapravarana, i.e. people 
whose ears fall down on their shoulders, Asvamukha, 
i.e. people with horse-faces, Parvatamaru, mountainous 
steppes, and Kumimandala. Finally it flows into the 

The Vishmi-P iirclna mentions that the great rivers 
of the middle earth which flow into the ocean are 
Anutapata, Shikhi, Dipapa, Tridiva, Karma, Amrita 
and Sukrita. 

( 263 ) 



This and similar questions have received at the Lands 

of the Hindus a treatment and soUition total]\^ different 

from that which they have received among ns Muslims. 

The sentences of the Koran on these and other subjects The Koran, 

necessarv for man to know are not such as to require a and clear 

T '^. . . -, , . . basis of all 

strained interpretation m order to become positive cer- research, 
tainties in the minds of the hearers, and the same may- 
be said regarding the holy codes revealed before the 
Koran. The sentences of the Koran on the subjects 
necessary for man to know are in perfect harmony with 
the other religious codes, and at the same time they are 
perfectly clear, without any ambiguity. Besides, the 
Koran does not contain questions which have for ever 
been subjects of controversy, nor such questions the 
solution of which has always been despaired of, e.g. 
questions similar to certain puzzles of chronology. 

Islam was alreadv in its earliest times exposed to the islam 

•,.. ^"11 !••! falsified : 

machinations of people who w^ere opposed to it m the i. By a 
bottom of their heart, people who preached Islam with party, 
sectarian tendencies, and who read to simple-minded 
audiences out of their Koran-copies passages of which 
not a single word was ever created (i.e. revealed) by 
God. But people believed them and copied these 
things on their authority, beguiled by their hypocrisy ; 
nay, they disregarded the true form of the book which 
they had had until then, because the vulgar mind is 



II. B3'the 

of the 
Hindus for 
their as- 

always inclined to any kind of delusion. Thus the* 
pure tradition of Islam has been rendered confused by 
this Judaistic party. 

Islam encountered a second mishap at the hands of 
the Zindiks, the followers of Mani, like Ibn Almukaffa', 
'Abd-alkarim Ibn *Abi-arauja', and others, who, being 
the fathers of criticism, and declaring one thing sls just, 
another as admissible, &c., raised doubts in weak-minded 
people as to the One and First, i.e. the Unique and 
Eternal God, and directed their sympathies towards 
dualism. At the same time they presented the bio- 
graphy of Mani to the people in such a beautiful garb 
that they were gained over to his side. Now this man 
did not confine himself to the trash of his sectarian 
theology, but also proclaimed his views about the form 
of the world, as may be seen from his books, which were 
intended for deliberate deception. His opinions were 
far-spread. Together with the inventions of the above- 
mentioned Judaistic party, they formed a religious 
system which was declared to be the Islam, but with 
which God has nothing whatever to do. Whoso opposes 
it and firmly adheres to the orthodox faith in conformity 
with the Koran is stigmatised by them as an infidel and 
heretic and condemned to death, and they will not 
allow him to hear the word of the Koran. All these 
acts of theirs are more impious than even the words of 
Pharaoh, "I am your highest lord" (Sura, 79, 24), 
and " I do not know of any god for you save myself " 
(Sura, 28, 38). If party spirit of this kind will go on 
and rule for a long time, we may easily decline from the 
straight path of honour and duty. We, however, take 
our refuge with God, who renders firm the foot of every 
one who seeks Hi^n, and who seeks the truth about 

The religious books of the Hindus and their codes 
of tradition, the Puranas, contain sentences about the 
shape of the world which stand in direct opposition to 


scientific truth as known to their astronomers. By 
these books people are guided in fulfilling the rites of 
their religion, and by means of them the great mass of 
the' nation have been wheedled into a predilection for 
astronomical calculation and astrological predictions 
and warnings. The consequence is, that they show much 
affection to their astronomers, declaring that they are 
excellent men, that it is a good omen to meet them, and 
firmly believing that all of them come into Paradise and 
none into hell. For this the astronomers requite them Astrono- 

... . , , mers admit 

by accepting their popular notions as truth, by con- popular 
forming themselves to them, however far from truth their 
most of them may be, and by presenting them with such 
spiritual stuff as they stand in need of. This is the 
reason why the two theories, the vulgar and the 
scientific, have become intermingled in the course of 
time, why the doctrines of the astronomers have been 
disturbed and confused, in particular the doctrines of 
those authors — and they are the majority — who simply 
copy their predecessors, who take the bases of their 
science from tradition and do not make them the objects 
of independent scientific research. 

We shall now explain the views of Hindu astrono- oeuerai 
mers regarding the present subject, viz. the shape of on^thr '°^^ 
heaven and earth. According to them, heaven as well of the earth, 
as the whole world is round, and the earth has a andVada- 
globular shape, the northern half being dry land, the ^'^™'^''^''^- 
southern half being covered with water. The dimen- Page 133. 
sion of the earth is larger according to them than it is 
according to the Greeks and modern observations, and 
in their calculations to find this dimension they have 
entirely given up any mention of the traditional seas 
and Dvipas, and of the enormous sums of yojana attri- 
buted to each of them. The astronomers follow the 
theologians in everything which does not encroach upon 
their science, e.g. they adopt the theory of Mount Meru 
being under the north pole, and that of the island 


Vadav^mukha lying under the south pole. Now, it is 
entirely irrelevant whether Meru is there or not, as it 
is only required for the explanation of the particular 
mill-like rotation, which is necessitated by the fact that 
to each spot on the plane of the earth corresponds a spot 
in the sky as its zenith. Also the fable of the southern 
island Yadavamukha does no harm to their science, 
although it is possible, nay, even likely, that each pair of 
quarters of the earth forms a coherent, uninterrupted 
unity, the one as a continent, the other as an ocean 
(and that in reality there is no such island under the 
south pole). Such a disposition of the earth is required 
by the law of gravitation, for according to them the 
earth is in the centre of the universe, and everything 
heavy gravitates towards it. Evidently on account of 
this law of gravitation they consider heaven, too, as 
having a globular shape. 

We shall now exhibit the opinions of the Hindu 
astronomers on this subject according to our translation 
of their works. In case, however, one word or other in 
our translation should be used in a meaning different 
from that which it generally has in our sciences, we ask 
the reader to consider only the original meaning of the 
word (not the technical one), for this only is meant. 
Quotation PuUsa says in his Siddhdnta : " Paulisa the Greek 

from the , ^ 

says somewhere that the earth has a globular shape, 
whilst in another place he says that it has the shape of 
a cover {i.e. of a flat plane). And in both sentences he 
is right ; for the plane or surface of the earth is round, 
and its diameter is a straight line. That he, however, 
only believed in the globular shape of the earth, may 
be proved by many passages of his work. Besides, all 
scholars agree on this head, as Varahamihira, Arya- 
bhata, Deva, Srishena, Vishnucandra, and Brahman. 
If the earth were not round, it would not be girded 
with the latitudes of the different places on earth, day 
and night would not be different in winter and summer, 

of Pulisa. 


and the conditions of the planets and of their rotations 
would be quite different from what they are. 

"The position of the earth is central. Half of it is 
clay, half water. Mount Meru is in the dry half, the 
home of the Deva, the angels, and above it is the pole. 
In the other half, which is covered by water, lies A^ada- 
vamukha, under the south pole, a continent like an 
island, inhabited by the Daitya and Naga, relatives of 
the Deva on Meru. Therefore it is also called Dait- 

"The line which divides the two earth-halves, the 
dry and the wet, from each other, is called Niraksha, i.e. 
having no latitude, being identical with our equator. In 
the four cardinal directions with relation to this line 
there are four great cities : — 

Yamakoti, in the east. [ Komaka, in the west. 

Lanka, in the south. | Siddhapura, in the north. 

" The earth is fastened on the two poles, and held by 
the axis. When the sun rises over the line which 
passes both through Meru and Lanka, that moment is 
noon to Yamakoti, midnight to the Greeks, and evening 
to Siddhapura." 

In the same manner things are represented by Arya- 

Brahmaefupta, the son of Jishnu. a native of Bhilla- Quotation 

. . . ' ' fi'-m the 

mala, says in his Bralimasiddhdnta : " Many are the Bmiimasid. 
sayings of people about the shape of the earth, specially B.ahma- 
among those who study the Puranas and the religious 
books. Some say that it is level like a mirror, others Page 134. 
say that it is hollow like a bowl. Others maintain that 
it is level like a mirror, inclosed by a sea, this sea being 
inclosed by an earth, this earth being inclosed by a sea, 
&c., all of them being round like collars. Each sea 
or earth has the double size of that which it incloses. 
The outside earth is sixty-four times as large as the 
central earth, and the sea inclosing the outside earth is 


sixty-four times as large as the sea inclosing the central 
earth. Several circumstances, however, compel us to 
attribute globular shape both to the earth and heaven, 
viz. the fact that the stars rise and set in different 
places at different times, so that, e.g. a man in Yama- 
koti observes one identical star rising above the western 
horizon, whilst a man in Eiim at the same time observes 
it rising above the eastern horizon. Another argument 
to the same effect is this, that a man on Meru observes 
one identical star above the horizon in the zenith of 
Lanka, the country of the demons, whilst a man in 
Lanka at the same time observes it above his head. 
Besides, all astronomical calculations are not correct 
unless we assume the globular figure of heaven and 
earth. Therefore we must declare that heaven is a 
globe, because we observe in it all the characteristics 
of a globe, and the observation of these characteristics 
of the world would not be correct unless in reality it 
were a globe. Now, it is evident that all the other 
theories about the world are futile." 
Quotations Arvabliata inquires into the nature of the world, 

trom various "^ ,'.. „ „ t-t 

astrono- and says that it consists oi earth, water, nre, and wind, 
and that each of these elements is round. 

Likewise Vasishtha and Lata say that the five ele- 
ments, viz. earth, water, fire, wind, and heaven, are 

Varahamihira says that all things which are per- 
ceived by the senses, are witnesses in favour of the 
globular shape of the earth, and refute the possibility 
of its having another shape. 

Aryabhata, Pulisa, Vasishtha, and Lata agree in this, 
that when it is noon in Yamakoti, it is midnight in 
Rum, beginning of the day in Lanka, and beginning of 
the night in Siddhapura, which is not possible if the 
world is not round. Likewise the periodicity of the 
eclipses can only be explained by the world's being 


Lata says : " On each place of the earth only one-half 
of the globe of heaven is seen. The more northern our 
latitude is, the more Meru and the pole rise above the 
horizon ; as they sink down below the horizon, the more 
southern is our latitude. The equator sinks down from 
the zenith of places, the greater their latitude is both in 
north and south. A man who is north of the equator 
only sees the north pole, whilst the south pole is invi- 
sible to him, and vice versa. ^' 

These are the words of Hindu astronomers regarding Considera- 

tioiis rc- 

the globular shape of heaven and earth, and what is gardingtbe 

^ ^. 11' 1 1 1 rotundity of 

between them, and regarding the lact that the earth, the earth, 
situated in the centre of the globe, is only of a small of gravity 

.,, J, ••11 1 r 1 between the 

Size m comparison with the visible part or heaven, northern 
These thoughts are the elements of astronomy as con- el-.i SUs' 
tained in the first chapter of Ptolemy's Almagest, and tnictiinof 
of similar books, though they are not worked out in ^^'^^^ 
that scientific form in which we are accustomed to give 

for the earth is more heavy than the water, and the 
water is fluid like the air. The globular form must be 
to the earth a physical necessity, as long as it does not, 
by the order of God, take another form. Therefore the 
earth could not move towards the north, nor the water Page 135. 
move towards the south, and in consequence one whole 
half is not terra firma, nor the other half water, unless 
we suppose that the terra firma half be hollow. As far 
as our observation, based on induction, goes, the terra 
fi/rma must be in one of the two northern quarters, and 
therefore we guess that the same is the case on the 
adjacent quarter. We admit the possibility of the 
existence of the island Vadavamukha, but we do not 
maintain it, since all we know of it and of Meru is 
exclusively based on tradition. 

The equatorial line does not, in the quarter of the 
earth known to us, represent a boundary between terrcc 


firma and the ocean. For in certain places the con- 
tinent protrudes far into the ocean, so as to pass beyond 
the equator, e.g. the plains of the negroes in the west, 
which protrude far towards the south, even beyond the 
mountains of the moon and the sources of the Nile, in 
fact, into regions which we do not exactly know. For 
that continent is desert and impassable, and likewise 
the sea behind Sufala of the Zanj is unnavigable. No 
ship which ventured to go there has ever returned to 
relate what it had witnessed. 

Also a great part of India above the province of Sindh 
deeply protrudes far towards the south, and seems even 
to pass beyond the equator. 

In the midst between both lie Arabia and Yemen, 
but they do not go so far south as to cross the equator. 

Further, as the terra firma stretches far out into the 
ocean, thus the ocean too penetrates into terra firma, 
breaking into it in various places, and forming bays 
and gulfs. For instance, the sea extends as a tongue 
along the west side of Arabia as far as the neighbour- 
hood of Central Syria. It is narrowest near Kulzum, 
whence it is also called the Sea of Kulzum . 

Another and still larger arm of the sea exists east of 
Arabia, the so-called Persian Sea. Between India and 
China, also, the sea forms a great curve towards the north. 

Hence it is evident that the coast-line of these 
countries does not correspond to the equator, nor keep 
an invariable distance from it, 

and the explanation relating to the four cities will follow 
in its proper place. 

The difference of the times which has been remarked 
is one of the results of the rotundity of the earth, and 
of its occupying the centre of the globe. And if they 
attribute to the earth, though it be round, inhabitants — 
for cities cannot be imagined without inhabitants — the 
existence of men on earth is accounted for by the 


attraction of everything heavy towards its centre, i.e. 
tlie middle of the world. 

Much to the same effect are the expressions of Vdyn- Quotations 

-n A • ^ 1 ' K A^• ••TT- f'-oin the 

Far ana, viz. that noon m Amaravati is sunrise in Vai- rdywand 
vasvata, midnight in Siikha, and sunset in Vibha. ranas. 

Similar, also, are the expressions of Matsija-Purdna, 
for this book explains that east of Mem lies the city 
Amaravatipura, tbe residence of Indra, the ruler, and 
his wife ; south of Meru, the city Samyamanipura, 
the residence of Yama, the son of the Sun, where he 
punishes and requites mankind ; west of Meru, the city 
Sukhapura, the residence of Varuna, i.e. the w^ater ; and 
north of Meru, the city Yibhavavipura, belonging to the 
Moon. Sun and planets revolve round Meru. When 
tbe sun has his noon position in Amaravatipura, it is 
the beginning of the day in Samyamanipura, midnight 
in Sukha, and the beuinnino' of the niofht in Vibhavari- 
pura. And when the sun has his noon position in 
Samyamanipura, he rises over Sukhapura, sets over 
Amaravatipura, and has his midnight position with 
relation to Yibhavaripura. p^ige 136. 

If the author of the Matsya-Pardna savs that the a note of the 

' -n iM • author on 

sun revolves round Meru, he means a miil-like rotation the passage 
round those who inhabit Meru, who, in consequence of Matsya-Po- 

p 1 • n 1 r&na. 

this nature 01 the rotation, do not know east nor west. 
The sun does not rise for the inhabitants of Meru in 
one particular place, but in various places. By the 
word east the author means the zenith of one city, and 
by loest the zenith of another. Possibly those four cities 
of the Matsija-Fardaa are identical with those men- 
tioned by the astronomers. But the author has not 
mentioned how far they are distant from Meru. What 
we have besides related as notions of the Hindus is 
perfectly correct and borne out by scientific methods ; 
however, they are wont never to speak of the pole unless 
they mention in the same breath also the mountain Meru. &"pta and 

•^ Varahanii- 

Iq the definition of what is low the Hindus agree 

hira on the 
law oi 

with US, viz. that it is the centre of the world, but their gravitation. 


expressions on this head are subtle, more particularly 
as this is one of the great questions which is only 
handled by the most eminent of their scholars. 

So Brahmagupta says : " Scholars have declared that 
the globe of the earth is in the midst of heaven, and 
that Mount Meru, the home of the Devas, as well as 
Vadavamukha below, is the home of their opponents ; 
the Daitya and Danava belong to it. But this hcloiv is 
according to them only a relative one. Disregarding 
this, we say that the earth on all its sides is the 
same ; all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy 
things fall down to the earth by a law of nature, for 
it is the nature of the earth to attract and to keep 
things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that of fire 
to burn, and that of the wind to set in motion. If a 
thing wants to go deeper down than the earth, let it 
try. The earth is the only low thing, and seeds always 
return to it, in whatever direction you may throw 
them away, and never rise upwards from the earth." 

Varahamihira says : '' Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, 
cities, men, and angels, all are around the globe of the 
earth. And if Yamakoti and Eum are opposite to each 
other, one could not say that the one is loiv in its 
relation to the other, since the loiv does not exist. How 
could one say of one place of the earth that it is low, 
as it is in every particular identical with any other 
place on earth, and one place could as little fall as any 
other. Every one speaks to himself with regard to his 
own self, '/am above and the others are below,' whilst 
all of them are around the globe like the blossoms 
springing on the branches of a Kadamba-tree. They 
encircle it on all sides, but each individual blossom has 
the same position as the other, neither the one hanging 
downward nor the other standing upright. For the 
earth attracts that which is upon her, for it is the beloiv 
towards all directions, and heaven is the above towards 
all directions." 

As the reader will observe, these theories of the 


Hindus are based on the correct knowledge of the laws 
of nature, but, at the same time, they practise a little 
deceit upon their traditionalists and theologians. So 
Balabhadra the commentator says : " It is the most Quotations 
correct of the opinions of people, many and different as bbadra,' and 
they are, that the earth and Meru and the zodiacal criticisms 
sphere are round. And the Apta (?)-purana-kara, i.e. 
the faithful followers of the Purana, say : ' The earth 
is like the back of a tortoise ; it is not round from 
below.' They are perfectly right, because the earth is 
in the midst of the water, and that which appears 
above the water has the shape of a tortoise-back ; and Page 137. 
the sea around the earth is not navigable. The fact 
of the earth being round is proved by eyesight." 

Here the reader must notice how Balabhadra declares 
the theory of the theologians as to the rotundity of the 
back to be true. He gives himself the air of not 
knowing that they deny that the womb, i.e. the other 
half of the globe, is round, and he busies himself with a 
traditional element (as to the earth being like the back 
of a tortoise), which, in reality, has no connection with 
the subject. 

Further, Balabhadra says : " Human eyesight reaches 
to a point distant from the earth and its rotundity the 
96th part of 5000 yojana, i.e. 52 yojana (exactly 52yV). 
Therefore man does not observe its rotundity, and hence 
the discrepancy of opinions on the subject." 

Those pious men (the Apta (?)-purana-kara) do not 
deny the rotundity of the back of the earth ; nay, they 
maintain it by comparing the earth to the back of a 
tortoise. Only Balabhadra makes them deny it (by 
the words, " the earth is not round from below," supra), 
since he understood their words as meaning that the 
water surrounds the earth. That which rises above the 
water may either be globular or a plain rising above 
the water like an inverted drum, i.e. like a segment of 
a round pilaster. 

VOL. I. S 



on the ex- 
tent of 
vision on 
the earth. 

Further, the remark of Balabhadra (v. p. 273), 
that mau, on account of the smallness of his stature, 
cannot observe the rotundity of the earth, is not true ; 
because even if the human stature were as tall as the 
plumb-line of the highest mountain, if he were to make 
his observation only from one single point without 
goiug to other places, and without reasoning about the 
observations made at the different places, even such a 
height would be of no avail to him, and he would not be 
able to perceive the rotundity of the earth and its nature. 
What, however, is the connection of this remark 
with the popular theory ? If he had concluded from 
analogy that that side of the earth which is opposed 
to the round one — I mean the lower half — was also 
round, and if he then had given his theory about the 
extent of the power of human vision as a result of 
reflection, not as a result of the perception of the 
senses, his theory would seem to have a certain foun- 

With regard to Balabhadra's definition of the extent 
which may be reached by the human eye, we propose 
the following calculation : — 

Let A B round the centre H represent the globe of 
the earth. B is tbe standiug- 
point of the observer ; his 
stature is B C. Further, we 
draw the line C A, so that it 
touches the earth. 

Now it is evident that the 
field of vision is B A, which 
we suppose to be equal to 
Jg- of the circle, ie. 3f degrees, 
if we divide the circle into 
360 degrees. 

According to the method 
followed in the calculation of the mountain Meru (in 
chap, xxiii.), we divide the square of T A, i.e. 50,625, by 


HT, i.e. 3431'. So we get as quotient T C = o° 14' 45''; 
and B C, the stature of the observer, is 0° 7' 45''. 

Our calculation is based on this, that H B, the sinus 
toius, is 3438'. However, the radius of the earth is, 
according to the circumference which we have men- 
tioned, 795° 27' 16'' {yojana). If we measure B C by 
this measure, it is = i yojana, 6 Itoscc, 103 5 yards 
( = 57,035 yards). If we suppose B C to be equal to four 
yards, it stands in the same relation to A T, according 
to the measure of the sine, as 57,035, i.e. the yards 
which we have found as the measure of the stature, to 
A T according to the measure of the sine, i.e. 225. If 
we now calculate the sine, we find it to be 0° o' 1'' '^"' , 
and its arc has the same measure. However, each degree 
of the rotundity of the earth represents the measure of 
13 yojana, 7 krosa, and 333 J yards {sic). Therefore the 
field of vision on the earth is 29 if yards {sic). Page 

{For an explanation of this calculation see the notes.) 
The source of this calculation of Balabhadra's is the 
Pulisa-sidclhdnta, which divides the arc of the quarter 
of a circle into 24 kardajdt. He says : " If anybody 
asks for the reason of this, he must know that each of 
these kardajdt is -^ of the circle = 225 minutes ( = 3f 
degrees). And if we reckon its sine, we find it also 
to be = 225 minutes." This shows us that the sines are 
equal to their arcs in parts which are smaller than this 
karclaja. And because the simts totus, according to 
Pulisa and Aryabhata, has the relation of the diameter 
to the circle of 360 degrees, this arithmetical equality- 
brought Balabhadra to think that the arc was perpen- 
dicular ; and any expanse in which no convexity pro- 
trudes preventing the vision from passing, and which 
is not too small to be seen, is visible. 

This, however, is a gross mistake ; for the arc is 
never perpendicular, and the sine, however small it 
be, never equals the arc. This is admissible only for 
such degrees as are supposed for the convenience of 


calculation, but it is never and nowhere true for the 
degrees of the earth. 
3f If Pulisa says (v. p. 267) that the earth is held 
to by an axis, he does not mean thereby that in reality 
there exists such an axis, and that but for it the earth 
would fall. How could he say such a thing, since he 
is of opinion that there are four inhabited cities around 
the world, which is explained by the fact that every- 
thing heavy falls from all sides down towards the earth ? 
However, Pulisa holds this view, that the motion of the 
peripheric parts is the reason why the central parts are 
motionless, and that the motion of a globe presupposes 
two poles, and one line connecting them, which in the 
idea is the axis. It is as if he meant to say, that the 
motion of heaven keeps the earth in its place, making 
it the natural place for the earth, outside of which it 
could never be. And this place lies on the midst of the 
axis of motion. For the other diameters of the globe 
mav also be imagined to be axes, since ev Swa/xet they 
are all axes, and if the earth were not in the midst of 
an axis, there might be axes which did not pass through 
the earth. Hence one may say metaphorically that the 
earth is supported by the axes. 

As regards the resting of the earth, one of the ele- 
mentary problems of astronomy, which offers many and 
great difficulties, this, too, is a dogma with the Hindu 
astronomers. Brahmagupta says in the Brahmasid- 
dhdiita: "Some people maintain that the /rs^ motion 
Page 139. (from east to west) does not lie in the meridian, but 
belongs to the earth. But Yarahamihira refutes them 
by saying : ' If that w^ere the case, a bird would not 
return to its nest as soon as it had flown away from 
• it towards the west.' And, in fact, it is precisely as 
Yarahamihira says." 

Brahmagupta says in another place of the same book : 
"The followers of Aryabhata maintain that the earth 
is moving and heaven resting. I^eople have tried to 

Chapter xxvl 277 

refute them by saying that, if such were the case, stones 
and trees would fall from the earth." 

But Brahmagupta does not agree with them, and says 
that that would not necessarily follow from their theory, 
apparently because he thought that all heavy things are 
attracted towards the centre of the earth. He says : 
" On the contrary, if that were the case, the earth icoulcl 
not vie in Jceeping an even and uniform pace luith the 
minutes of heaven, tlie prdnas of the times.'''' 

There seems to be some confusion in this chapter, 
perhaps by the fault of the translator. For the minntes 
of heaven are 21,600, and are called prdna, i.e. breaths, 
because according to them each minute of the meridian 
revolves in tJie time of an ordinary human hreath. 

Supposing this to be true, and that the earth makes 
a complete rotation eastward in so many breaths as 
heaven does according to his (Brahmagupta's) view, we 
cannot see what should prevent the earth from keeping 
an even and uniform pace with heaven. 

Besides, the rotation of the earth does in no w^ay im-^ 
pair the value of astronomy, as all appearances of an 
astronomic character can quite as well be explained 
according to this theory as to the other. There are, 
however, other reasons which make it impossible. 
This question is most difficult to solve. The most pro- 
minent of both modern and ancient astronomers have 
deeply studied the question of the moving of the earth, 
and tried to refute it. We, too, have composed a book 
on the subject called Miftdh-ilm-alhai'a (Key of 
Astronomy), in which we think we have surpassed our 
predecessors, if not in the words, at all events in the 

( -78 ) 

on the 

from Pulisa. 



The astronomers of the Hindus hold on this subject 
mostly the same views as ourselves. We shall give 
quotations from them, but shall at once confess that 
that which we are able to give is very scanty indeed. 
Quotation PuUsa says I "The wind makes the sphere of the 

fixed stars revolve ; the two poles keep it in its place, 
and its motion appears to the inhabitants of Mount 
Meru as a motion from the left to the right ; to the 
inhabitants of Vadavamukha as one from the right to 
the left." 

In another place he says : "If anybody asks for the 
direction of the motion of the stars which we see rising 
in the east and rotating towards the west until they set, 
let him know that the motion which we see as a west- 
ward motion appears different according to the places 
which the spectators occupy. The inhabitants of Mount 
Meru see it as a motion from the left to the right, 
whilst the inhabitants of Vadavamukha see it as the 
opposite, as a motion from the right to the left. The 
inhabitants of the equator see it exclusively as a 
westward motion, and the inhabitants of the parts of 
the earth between the poles and the equator see it 
more or less depressed, as their places have more or 

CHAPTER XXV 11. 279 

less northern or southern latitude. The whole of this 
motion is caused by the wind, which makes the spheres 
revolve, and compels the planets and the other stars to 
rise in the east and to set in the west. This, however, 
is only an accidens. As for the essentia rei, the motions 
of the heavenly bodies are directed towards the east, 
from Alsliaratdn towards Alhutain, the latter lying east 
of the former. But if the inquirer does not know the 
lunar stations, and is not capable of procuring for him- Page 140. 
self by their help an idea of this eastward motion, let 
him observe the moon herself, how she moves away from 
the sun once and a second time; how she then comes 
near him, till she finally joins him. This will give him 
an idea of the second motion." 

Brahmasfupta savs : " The sphere has been created Quotations 
as movmsf with the greatest rapidity possible about two Brahma- 

^ -1 ?i-Ti 1 1 g"Pta aud 

poles without ever slackening, and the stars nave been Baiabhadra. 
created where there is no Batn-hut nor Sharafdn, i.e. on 
the frontier between them, which is the vernal ecpiinox." 

Baiabhadra, the commentator, says: "The whole 
world hangs on two poles, and moves in a circular 
motion, which begins with a kcdpcc and ends with a 
kalpa. But people must not therefore say that the 
world, on account of the continuity of its motion, is 
without beginning and without end." 

Brahmagupta says : " The place without latitude 
{Nirakshct), divided into sixty ghafiM, is the horizon 
for the inhabitants of Meru. There east is west ; and 
behind that place (beyond the equator) towards the 
south is Yadavamukha and the ocean which surrounds 
it. When the spheres and the stars revolve, the meri- 
dian becomes an horizon common to the Devas (in 
the north) and the Daityas (in the south), which they 
see together. But the direction of the motion appears 
to them as different. The motion which the angels see 
as a motion to the right, the Daityas see as one to the 
left, and vice versd, just as a man who has a thing on his 


right side, looking into the water, sees it on his left. 
The cause of this uniform motion which never increases 
nor decreases is a wind, but it is not the common wind 
which we feel and hear ; for this is lulled, and roused, 
and varies, whilst that wind never slackens." 

In another place Brahmagupta says : " The wind 
makes all the fixed stars and the planets revoh^e 
towards the west in one and the same revolution ; but 
the planets move also in a slow pace towards the east, 
like a dust-atom moving on a potter's-wheel in a direc- 
tion opposite to that in which the wheel is revolving. 
That motion of this atom which is visible is identical 
with the motion which drives the wheel round, whilst 
its individual motion is not perceived. In this view 
Lata, Aryabhata, and Vasishtha agree, but some people 
think that the earth moves while the sun is resting. 
That motion which mankind conceives as a motion from 
east to west, the angels (Deva) conceive as a motion 
from left to right, the Daityas as one from right to left." 

This is all I have read in Indian books on the 

Their speaking of the wind as the motor (supra) 
has, I think, only the purpose of bringing the subject 
near to the understanding of people and to facilitate its 
study ; for people see with their own eyes that the 
wind, when blowing against instruments with wings 
and toys of this kind, puts them into motion. But as 
soon as they come to speak of the first mover (God), 
they at once give up any comparison with the natural 
wind, which in all its phases is deteruiined by certain 
causes. For though it puts things into motion, the 
moving is not its essence ; and besides, it cannot move 
without being in contact with something, because the 
wind is a body, and is acted upon by external influences 
or means, its motion being commensurate with their 


Their saying that the wind does not rest, simply 
means that the moving power works perpetually, and 
does not imply rest and motion such as are proper to 
bodies. Further, their saying that it does not slacken 
means that it is free from all kinds of accidents ; for 
slackening and iceakening only occur in such bodies or Page 141. 
beings which are composed of elements of conflicting 

The expression that the two poles keep the sphere of on the two 

poles keeping 

the fixed stars (p. 278) means that they keep or pre- the sphere. 
serve it in its normal state of motion, not that they 
keep or preserve it from falliug down. There is a story 
of an ancient Greek who thought that once upon a time 
the Milky Way had been a road of the sun, and that 
afterwards he had left it. Such a thing would mean 
that the motions ceased to be normal, and to something 
like this the expression of the poles keeping the sphere of 
the fixed stars may be referred. 

The phrase of Balabhadra about the endinri of tlie onthe 

, . -. • 1 77 o \ rehitive 

motion (that it ends with a kalpa, &c., p. 279) means nature of 
that everything which exists and may be determined 
arithmetically has no doubt an end, for two reasons : 
first, because it has a beginning, for every number 
consists of one and its reduplications, whilst the 07ie 
itself exists before all of them ; and, secondly, because 
part of it exists in the present moment of time, for if 
days and nights increase in number through the con- 
tinuation of existence, they must necessarily have a 
beginning whence they started. If a man maintains 
that time does not exist in the sphere (as one of its 
immanent qualities), and thinks that day and night 
have only a relative existence, exist only in relation to 
the earth and its inhabitants, that if, e.g., the earth were 
taken away out of the midst of the world, also night 
and day would cease to exist as well as the possibility 
of measuring elements composed of days, he would 
thereby impose upon Balabhadra the necessity of a 


On the fixed 



digression, and compel him to prove the cause, not of 
the first, but of the second motion. The latter cause is 
the cycles of the planets, which have only a relation to 
the sphere, not to the earth. These cycles Balabhadra 
indicates by the word hilpa (v. p. 279), since it com- 
prehends them all, and since all of them begin with its 
Themeri- If Brahmagiipta says of the meridian that it is 

dian divided t---it',-, ,/ x-,- -p o 

into sixty aivictecl into sixty parts (v. p. 279), it is as 11 any one 01 
lis should say, the meridian is divided into twenty-four 
parts ; for the meridian is a medium for measuring and 
counting time. Its revolution lasts twenty-four hours, 
or, as the Hindus will have it, sixty ghatihd (or ghari). 
This is the reason why they have reckoned the risings 
of the zodiacal signs in gliatikcl, not in twies of the 
meridian (360 degrees). 

If, further, Brahmagupta says that the wind causes 
the fixed stars and the planets to revolve, if he besides, 
in particular, attributes a slow eastward motion to the 
planets (p. 280), he gives the reader to understand that 
the fixed stars have no such motion, or else he would 
have said that they, too, have the same slow eastward 
motion as the planets, not differing from them save in 
size and in the variation which they exhibit in the re- 
trograde motion. Some people relate that the ancients 
originally did not understand their (the fixed stars') 
motions until, in long periods of time, they became 
aware of them. This opinion is confirmed by the fact 
that Brahmagupta's book does not, among the various 
cycles, mention the cycles of the fixed stars, and that 
he makes their appearing and disappearing depend 
upon invariable degrees of the sun. 

If Brahmagupta maintains (p. 278) that to the in- 
habitants of the equator the first motion is not amotion 
to the right and left, the reader must bear in mind the 
following. A man dwelling under either of the two 
poles, to whatever direction he turns, has always the 


moviDg heavenly bodies before himself, and as they 
move in one direction, they must necessarily first stand 
opposite one of his hands, and then, moving on, come 
to stand opposite liis other hand. The direction of this 
motion appears to the inhabitants of the two poles just 
the very contrary, like the image of a thing in the 
water or a mirror, where its directions seem to be ex- 
changed. If the image of a man is reflected by the 
water or a mirror, he appears as a different man stand- 
ing opposite to the spectator, his right side opposite to ^'gc 142. 
the left of the spectator, and his left side opposite to 
the right of the spectator. 

Likewise the inhabitants of places of northern lati- 
tude have the revolving heavenly bodies hefore them- 
selves towards the south, and the inhabitants of places 
of southern latitude have them hefore themselves 
towards the north. To them the motion appears 
the same as to the inhabitants of Meru and Vadava- 
mukha. But as regards those living on the equator, 
the heavenly bodies revolve nearly ahove their heads, 
so they cannot have them before themselves in any 
direction. In reality, however, they deviate a little 
from the ecpiator, and in consequence the people there 
have a uniform motion before themselves on two sides, 
the motion of the northern heavenly bodies from right 
to left, and that of the southeim bodies from left to 
right. So they unite in their persons the faculty of 
the inhabitants of the two poles (viz. of seeing the 
heavenly bodies moving in different directions), and it 
depends entirely npon their will, if they want to see 
the stars move from the right to the left or vice 

It is the line passing through the zenith of a man 
standing on the equator which Brahmagupta means 
when he says that it is divided into sixty parts (v. p. 

The authors of the Puranas represent heaven as a 



dome or cupola standing on earth and resting, and the 
stars as beings which wander individually from east to 
west. How could these men have any idea of the 
second motion ? And if they really had such an idea, 
how could an opponent of the same class of men con- 
cede the possibility that one and the same thing indi- 
vidually moves in two different directions ? 

We shall here communicate what we know of their 

theories, although we are aware that the reader will 

not derive any profit from them, since tliey are simply 


Quotation The Matsya-Purdna says : " The sun and the stars 

from the i i ' i • 

pass along southward as rapidly as an arrow revolv- 
ing round Meru. The sun revolves round sometLing 
like a beam, the end of which is burning when its 
revolution is very rapid. The sun does not really 
disappear (during the night) ; he is then invisible only 
to some people, to some of the inhabitants of the four 
cities on the four sides of Meru. He revolves round 
Meru, starting from the north side of Mount Lokaloka ; 
he does not pass beyond Lokaloka, nor illuminate its 
south side. He is invisible during the night, because 
he is so far away. Man can see him at a distance 
of 1000 yojana, but when he is so far away, a small 
object sufficiently near to the eye can render him 
invisible to the spectator. 

" When the sun stands in the zenith of Pushkara- 
Dvipa, he moves along the distance of one-thirtieth 
part of the earth in three-fifths of an hour. In so 
much time he traverses 21 laksha and 50,000 yojana, 
i.e. 2,150,000 yojana. Then he turns to the north, and 
the distance he traverses becomes thrice as large. In 
consecpience, the day becomes long. The distance which 
the sun traverses in a southern day is 9 Icoti and 10,045 
yojana. When he then returns to the north and revolves 
round Kshira, i.e. the Milky Way, his daily march is 
I koti and 21 laksha yojana.^' 


Now we ask the reader to consider how confused criticisms 

of the 

these expressions are. If the author of the Matsya- author on 

1 . 11 ,5 the theory of 

Fur ana says " the stars pass as rapidly as an arrow, the uauya- 
&c., we take this for a hyperbole intended for unedu- 
cated people ; but we must state that the arrow-like 
motion of the stars is not peculiar to the south to tbe 
exclusion of the north. There are limits both in the 
north and south whence the sun returns, and the time 
of the sun's passing from the southern limit to the 
northern is equal to the time of his passing from the 
northern limit to the southern. Therefore his motion Page 143. 
northvjard has the same right of being described as as 
rapid as an arroiv. Herein, however, lies a hint of the 
theological ojoinion of the author regarding the north 
pole, for he thinks the north is the ahovc and the south 
the hclow. Hence the stars glide down to the south 
like children on a see-saw plank. 

If, however, the author hereby means the second 
motion, whilst in reality it is thejii'st, we must state 
that the stars in the second motion do not revolve round 
Meru, and that the plane of this motion is inclined 
towards the horizon of Meru by one-twelfth of the circle. 

Further, how far-fetched is this simile in which he 
connects the motion of the sun with a burning beam ! 
If we held the opinion that the sun moves as an un- 
interrupted round collar, his simile would be useful 
in so far as it refutes such an opinion. But as we 
consider the sun as a body, as it were, standing in 
heaven, his simile is meaningless. And if he simply 
means to say tliat the sun describes a round circle, his 
comparing the sun to a hurning heam is quite super- 
fluous, because a stone tied to the end of a cord describes 
a similar circle if it is made to revolve round the head 
(there being no necessity for describing it as burning). 

That the sun rises over some people and sets over 
others, as he describes it, is true ; but here, too, he is 
not free from his theological opinions. This is shown 


by his mentiou of the mountain Lokaloka and his re- 
mark that the rays of the sun fall on it, on its human 
or north side, not on its wild or south side. 

Further, the sun is not hidden during the night on 
account of his great distance, but because he is covered 
by something — by the earth according to us, by Mount 
Meru according to the author of the Matsya-Parcina. 
He imagines that the sun marches round Meru, whilst 
we are on one of its sides. In consequence we are in 
a varying distance from the sun's path. That this is 
originally his opinion is confirmed by the later follow- 
ing remarks. That the sun is invisible during the night 
has nothing whatever to do with his distance from us. 

The numbers which the author of the Matsya-Purdna 
mentions I hold to be corrupt, as they are not borne 
out by any calculation. He represents the path of the 
sun in the north as threefold that in the south, and 
makes this the cause of the difference of the length of 
the day. Whilst in reality the sum of day and night is 
always identical, and day and night in north and south 
stand in a constant relation to each other, it seems 
necessary that we should refer his remarks to a latitude 
where the summer-day is 45 ghatikd, the winter-day 
15 ghatikd long. 

Further, his remark that the sun hastens in the north 
(marches there more rapidly than in the south), re- 
quires to be proved. The places of northern latitude 
have meridians not very distant from each other, be- 
cause of their being near to the pole, whilst the 
meridians become more distant from each other the 
nearer they are to the equator. If, now, the sun hastens 
in traversing a smaller distance, he wants less time 
than for traversing the greater distance, more especially 
if on this greater distance his march is slackening. 
In reality the opposite is the case. 

By his phrase luhen the sun revolves above Pushkara- 
dvipa (p. 284) is meant the line of the winter solstice. 


AccordiDg to hira, on this line the day must be longer 
than in any other {)lace, whether it be the summer 
solstice or another. All this is unintelligible. 

Similar notions are also found in the Vdyu-Purdna, Quotation 
viz. "that the day in the south is twelve viichurta, in vdyu- 
the north eighteen, and that the sun between south and 
north has a declination of 17,221 yojanaiii 183 days, i.e. 
94(tW) yojctna for each day." 

One miihilrta is equal to four-fifths of an hour ( = 48 
minutes). The sentence of the Vdyu-Purcina applies 
to a latitude where the longest day is I4f hours. Page 144. 

As regards the numbers of the yojanas mentioned 
by the Vdyu-Purdna, the author means evidently the 
portio of the double declination of the sphere. Accord- 
ing to him, the declination is twenty-four degrees; 
therefore the yojanas of the whole sphere would be 
129,157^. And the days in which the sun traverses 
the double declination are half the solar year, no regard 
being had to the fractions of days, which are nearly 
five-eighths of a day. 

Further, the Vdyu-Purdna says " that the sun in the 
north marches slowly during the day aud rapidly dur- 
ing the night, and in the south vice versd. Therefore 
the day is long in the north, even as much as eighteen 
muJmrta.'^ This is merely the language of a person 
who has not the slightest knowledge of the eastern 
motion of the sun, and is not able to measure a day's 
arc by observation. 

The Vishnu- Dhar ma says: "The orbit of the Great Quotation 
Bear lies under the pole ; under it the orbit of Saturn ; VisUnu- 
then that of Jupiter ; next Mars, the Sun, Yenus, 
Mercury, and the Moon. They rotate towards the 
east like a mill, in a uniform kind of motion which is 
peculiar to each star, some of them moving rapidly, 
others slowly. Death and life repeat themselves on 
them from eternity thousands of times." 

If you examine this statement according to scientific 


principles, yon will find that it is confused. Conceding 
that the Great Bear is under the pole and that the 
place of the pole is absolute height, the Great Bear 
lies heloio the zenith of the inhabitants of Meru. In 
this statement he is right, but he is mistaken with 
regard to the planets. For the word helow is, accord- 
ing to him, to be understood so as to mean a greater or 
smaller distance from the earth ; and thus taken, his 
statement (regarding the distances of the planets from 
the earth) is not correct, unless we suppose tbat Saturn 
has, of all planets, the greatest declination from the 
equator, the next greatest Jupiter, then Mars, the Sun, 
Venus, &c., and that at the same time this amount of 
their declination is a constant one. This, however, 
does not correspond to reality. 

If we take the sum total of the whole statement of 
the Vishnu- Dharnia, the author is right in so far as the 
fixed stars are higher than the planets, but he is wrong 
in so far as the pole is not higher than the fixed stars. 

The mill-like rotation of the planets is the first 
motion towards the west, not the second motion indicated 
by the author. According to him, the planets are the 
spirits of individuals who have gained exaltation by 
their merits, and who have returned to it after the 
end of their life in a human shape. According to 
my opinion, the author uses a number in the words 
tJiousajids of times (p. 287), either because he wanted 
to intimate that their existence is an existence in our 
meaning of the term, an evolution out of the Svyafxis 
into the irpa^is (hence something finite, subject to 
numeration or determination by measure), or because 
he meant to indicate that some of those spirits obtain 
nioksha, others not. Hence their number is liable to 
a more or less, and everything of this description is of 
a finite nature. 

( 289 ) 



The extension of bodies in space is in three directions : 
length, breadth ., and de2yth or hci/jht. The 23ath of any 
real direction, not an imaginary one, is limited ; there- 
fore the lines representing these three paths are limited, 
and their six end-points or limits are the directions. 
If you imagine an animal in the centre of these lines, 
i.e. where they cut each other, which turns its face 
towards one of them, the directions with relation to 
the animal are hefore, hehind, right, left, above, and 

If these directions are used in relation to the world, 
they acquire new names. As the rising and setting of Page 145. 
the heavenly bodies depend upon the horizon and the 
Jlrst motion becomes apparent by the horizon, it is the 
most convenient to determine the directions by the 
horizon. The four directions, east, loest, north, south 
(corresponding to before, behind, left, and right), are 
generally known, but the directions which lie be- 
tween each two of these are less known. These 
make eight directions, and, together wdth above and 
below, which do not need any further explanation, ten 

The Greeks determined the directions by the rising 
and setting places of the zodiacal signs, brought them 
into relation to the winds, and so obtained sixteen 

VOL. I. T 



Also the Arabs determined the directions by the 
blowing-points of the winds. Any wind blowing be- 
tween two cardinal winds they called in general NaMjct. 
Only in rare cases they are called by special names of 
their own. 

The Hindus, in giving names to the directions, have 
not taken any notice of the blowing of a wind ; they 
simply call the four cardinal directions, as well as the 
secondary directions between them, by separate names. 
So they have eight directions in the horizontal plane, 
as exhibited by the following diagram : — 
















the middle country. 







Besides there are two directions more for the two 
poles of the horizontal plane, the above and below, 
the former being called UiJctri, the second Adhas and 

These directions, and those in use among other 
nations, are based on general consent. Since the hori- 
zon is divided by innumerable circles, the directions 
also proceeding from its centre are innumerable. The 


two ends of every possible diameter may be considered 
as hcfoi-e and behind, and therefore the two ends of the 
diameter cutting the former at right angles (and lying 
in the same plane) are rvjlit and left. 

The Hindus can never speak of anything, be it an 
object of the intellect or of imagination, without repre- 
senting it as a personification, an individual. They at 
once marry him, make him celebrate marriage, make his 
wife become pregnant and give birth to something. So, 
too, in this case.' The VisJum-DJmrma relates that 
Ah'i, the star who rules the stars of the Great Bear, 
married the directions, represented as one person, though 
they are eight in number, and that from her the moon 
was born. 

Another author relates : Dakska, i.e. Prajapati, mar- 
ried Dharma, i.e. the revxird, to ten of his daughters, i.e. 
the ten directions. From one of them he had many 
children. She was called Vcisu, and her children the 
Vams. One of them was the moon. 

Xo doubt our people, the Muslims, will laugh at such 
a birth of the moon. But I give them still more of this 
stuff. Thus, e.g. they relate : The sun, the son of Kas- 
yapa and of Aditya, his wife, was born in the sixth Man- 
vantara on the lunar station Visakha ; the moon, the son 
of Dharma, was born on the station Krittika ; Mars, the 
son of Prajtlpati, on Piirvashadha ; Mercury, the son of 
the moon, on Dhanishtha ; Jupiter, the son of Angiras, Page 146. 
on Purvaphalguni ; Venus, the daughter of Bhrigu, on 
Pushya ; Saturn on Revati ; the Bearer of the Tail, the 
son of Yama, the angel of death, on Aslesha, and the 
Head on Pievati. 

According to their custom, the Hindus attribute 
certain dominants to the eight directions in the 
horizontal plane, which we exhibit in the following 
table : — 



Their Dominants. The Directions. 

Their Dominants. 

Tlie Directions. 


Indra . . . East. 

Varuna . . 


The Fire . . S.E. 

Vayu . . . 


Yama . . . South. 

Kuru . . . 


Prithu . . S.W. 

Mahadeva . N.E. 

The Hindus construct a figure of these eight direc- 
tions, called Bdhncakra, i.e. the figure of the Head, by 
means of which they try to gain an omen or prophecy 
for hazard-playing. It is the following diagram : — 



The figure is used in this way : First, you must know 
the dominant of the day in question, and its place in 
the present figure. Next you must know that one of 
the eight parts of the day in which you happen to be. 
The§e eighths are counted on the lines, beginning with 


the dominant of the day, in uninterrupted succession 
from east to south and west. Thus you find the domi- 
nant of the eighth in questiou. If, e.g., you want to 
know the fifth eighth of Thursday whilst Jupiter is the 
clominus cliei in the south, and the line proceeding from 
the south terminates in north-west, we find that the 
dominant of the first eighth is Jupiter, that of the 
second is Saturn, that of the third the sun, that of the 
fourth the moon, and that of the fifth Mercury in the 
north. In this way you go on counting the eighths 
through the day and the night till the end of the 
vvxO-)][X€pov. When thus the direction of the eighth of 
the day in which you are has been found, it is considered rage 147. 
by them as Eahu ; and when sitting down to play, you 
must place yourself so that you have this direction at 
your back. Then you will win, according to their belief. 
It is no affair of the reader to despise a man who, on 
account of such an omen, in a variety of games stakes 
all his chances on one cast of the dice. Suffice it to 
leave to him the responsibility of his dice-playing. 

( 294 ) 



In the book of the Rishi Bhnvanakosa we read that the 
inhabitable world stretches from Him av ant towards the 
south, and is called Bharata-varsha, so called from a 
man, Bbarata, who ruled over them and provided for 
them. The inhabitants of this olKov^kvr] are those to 
whom alone reward and punishment in another life 
are destined. It is divided into nine parts, called Nava- 
khanda-prathama, i.e. the primary nine parts. Between 
each two parts there is a sea, which they traverse from 
one khanda to the other. The breadth of the inhabit- 
able world from north to south is looo yojana. 

By Himavant the author means the northern moun- 
tains, where the world, in consequence of the cold, 
ceases to be inhabitable. So all civilisation must of 
necessity be south of these mountains. 

His words, that the inhabitants are subject to reward 
and punisJiment, indicate that there are other people 
not subject to it. These beings he must either raise 
from the degree of man to that of angels, who, in con- 
sequence of the simplicity of the elements they are 
composed of and of the purity of their nature, never 
disobey a divine order, being always willing to worship ; 
or he must degrade them to the degree of irrational 
animals. According to him, therefore, there are no 
human beings outside the olKovjikvy] (i.e. Bharata- 


Bharatavarstia is not India alone, as Hindus think, 
according to whom their country is the world, and their 
race the only race of mankind ; for India is not 
traversed by an ocean separating one Jchanda from the 
other. Further, they do not identify these Ihanda with 
the diijKis, for the author says that on those seas 
people pass from one shore to the other. Further, 
it follows from his statement that all the inhabitants 
of the earth and the Hindus are subject to reward 
and punishment, that they are one great religious 

The nine parts are called Prathama, i.e. 'primary ones, 
because they also divide India alone into nine parts. 
So the division of the oiKovixkvi^ is a primary one, but 
the division of Bharatavarsha a secondary one. Be- 
sides, there is still a third division into nine parts, as 
their astrologers divide each country into nine parts 
when they try to find the lucky and unlucky places 
in it. 

We find a similar tradition in the Vdyu-Pvrdna, viz. Quotation 
that " the centre of Jambu-dvipa is called Bharata- Purdna. 
varsha, which means those icJio acquire something and 
nourish thcmsehrs. With them there are the four yuya. 
They are subject to reward and punishment ; and 
Himavant lies to the north of the country. It is 
divided into nine parts, and between them there are 
navigable seas. Its length is 9000 yojana, its breadth 
1000; and because the country is also called Sam- 
nara (?), each ruler who rules it is called Samnara (?). 
The shape of its nine parts is as follows." 

Then the author begins to describe the mountains in 
the Ichancja between the east and north, and the rivers 
which rise there, but he does not go beyond this de- 
scription. Thereby he gives us to understand that, 
according to his opinion, this hhanda is the oiKovjievii, Page 148. 
But he contradicts himself in another place, where he 



says that Jambu-dvipa is the centre among the Naxa- 
khanda-prathama, and the others lie towards the eight 
directions. There are angels on them, men, animals, 
and plants. By these words he seems to mean the 

If the breadth of the olKovfuv)] is lOOO yojana. its 
length must be nearly 2800. 

Further, the Vdyu-Purdna mentions the cities and 
countries which lie in each direction. We shall exhibit 
them in tables, together with similar information from 
other sources, for this method renders the study of the 
subject easier than any other. 

Here follows a diagram representing the division of 
Bharatavarsha into nioe parts. 






Indradvipa or 

Madhyadesa, i.e. 

the middle country. 






We have already heretofore mentioned that that part 
of the earth in which the olKovjxkvi] lies resembles a 
tortoise, because its borders are round, because it rises 
above the water and is surrounded by the water, and 
because it has a globular convexity on its surface. 
However, there is a possibility that the origin of the 
name is this, that their astronomers and astrologers 
divide the directions according to the lunar stations. 



Therefore the coniitry, too, is divided according to the 
hiiiar stations, and the figure which represents this 
division is similar to a tortoise. Therefore it is called 
Kitrma-cakra, i.e. the tortoise-circle or the tortoise- 
shape. The following diagram is from the Samhitd of 



^ Jyeshtha. 

K Mftla. ■ y 

^ I'^irvashadha. 








■■yjp.iy ^ 

Varahamihira calls each of the Nava-khanda a varqa. P'^^c 149. 

• • ^, Thedivisi 

He says: "By them (the vargas) Bharatavarsha, i.e. ofBharatt 
half of the world, is divided into nine parts, the cen- according 
tral one, the eastern, &c." Then he passes to the south, luia. 
and thus round the whole horizon. That he under- 
stands by Bharatavarsha India alone is indicated by 
his saying that each varga has a region, the king of 

On the 
change of 
cal names. 


which is killed when some mishap befalls it. So 

To the ist or central varga, the region Pancala. 
,, 2d varga, . . ,, Magadha. 

3d varga, 
4th varga, 
5th varga, 
6th varga, 
7th varga, 
8th varga, 
9th varga, 


Avanti, i.e. Ujain. 


Sindhu and Sauvira. 




All these countries are parts of India proper. 

Most of the names of countries under which they 
appear in this context are not those by which they are 
now generally known. Utpala, a native of Kashmir, 
says in his commentary on the book Samliitd regarding 
this subject : " The names of countries change, and 
particularly in the yugas. So Multan was originally 
called Kasyapapura, then Harhsapura, then Bagapura, 
then Sambhapura, and then MiUasthdna, i.e. the origi- 
nal place, for mula means root, origin, and tana means 

A yuga is a long space of time, but names change 
rapidly, when, for instance, a foreign nation with a 
different language occupies a country. Their tongues 
frequently mangle the words, and thus transfer them into 
their own language, as is, e.g. the custom of the Greeks. 
Either they keep the original meaning of the names, and 
try a sort of translation, but then they undergo certain 
changes. So the city of Shash, which has its name from 
the Turkish language, where it is called Tash-kand, i.e. 
stone-city, is called stone-tower in the book yecoypacfiLa. 
In this way new names spring up as translations of 
older ones. Or, secondly, the barbarians adopt and 
keep the local names, but with such sounds and in such 
forms as are adapted to their tongues, as the Arabs do 
in Arabising foreign names, which become disfigured in 


their mouth : e.g. Bdshang they call in their books 
Filsanj, and Sakilkand they call in their re venn e-books 
Fdrfaza (sic). However, what is more curious and 
strange is this, that sometimes one and the same lan- 
guage changes in the mouth of the same people who 
speak it, in consequence of which strange and uncouth 
forms of words spring up, not intelligible save to him 
who discards every rule of the language. And such 
changes are brought about in a few years, without there 
being any stringent cause or necessity for it. Of course, 
in all of this the Hindus are actuated by the desire to 
have as many names as possible, and to practise on them 
the rules and arts of their etymology, and they glory in 
the enormous copiousuess of their language which they 
obtain by such means. 

The following names of countries, which we have 
taken from the Vdyu-Purdna, are arranged according to 
the four directions, whilst the names taken from the 
Samhitd are arranged according to the eight directions. 
All these names are of that kind which we have here 
described (i.e. they are not the names now in general 
use). We exhibit them in the following tables : — 

The single countries of the middle recdm, according to Page 150 
the Vdyu-Purdna. 

Kuru, Pailcala, Salva, Jangala, Siirasena, Bhadra- 
kara(!), Bodha, Pathesvara, Vatsa, Kisadya, Kulya, 
Kuntala, Kasi, Kosala, Arthayashava (?), Puhlinga (!), 
Mashaka (!), Vrika. 

The people in the east : — 

Andhra, Vaka, Mudrakaraka (?), Pratragira (?), Vahir- 
gira, Prathanga (?), Vaiigeya, Malava (!), Malavartika, 
Pragjyotisha, Munda, Abika (?), Tamraliptika, Mala, 
Magadha, Govinda (Gonanda ?). 

The people in the south : — 

Pandya, Kerala, Caulya, Kulya, Setuka, Mushika, 
Rum an a (?). Yanavasika, Maharashtra, Mahisha, Ka- 


Page 151. linga, Abhira, Ishika, Atavya, Savara (?), Pulindra, 
Yindhyamuli, Yaidarbba, Dandaka, Mulika (!), Asniaka, 
Naitika(!), Bhogavardhaoa, Kiintala, Andhra, Udbhira, 
Nalaka, Alika, Dakshinatya, Vaidesa, Surpfikaraka, 
Kolavana, Durga, Tillita (?), Puleya, Krala (!), Rupaka, 
Tamasa, Tariipana (?), Karaskara, Nasikya, Uttarauar- 
mada, Bhanukacchra (?), Mabeya, Saraswata (?), Kac- 
chiya, Surashtra, Anartta, Hndvuda (?). 

The people in the west : — 

Malada (?), Kariisha, Mekala, Utkala, Uttamarna, 

Basarna (?), Bhoja, Kishkinda, Kosala, Traipura, Vaidika, 

Tharpura (?), Tnmbura, ShattiimaDa (?), Padha, Kar- 

Page 152. napravarana (!), Hiina, Darva, Hiihaka (!), Trigartta, 

Malava, Kirata, Tamara. 

The people in the north : — 

Vahlika (!), Vadha, Vana (?), Abhira, Kalatoyaka, 
Apaninta (?), Pahlava, Carmakhandika, Gandhara, Ya- 
vana, Sindhn, Sauvira, i.e. Multan and Jahrawar, 
Madhra(?), Saka, Drihfila (?), Litta (Knlinda), Malla(?), 
Kodara (?), Atreya, Bharadva, Jangala, Daseruka (!), 
Lampaka, Talakuna (?), Siilika, Jagara. 

The names of the countries for the tortoise-figure, as 
taken from the Sarhhitd of Varcihamihira. 

I. The names of the countries in the centre of the 
realm : — 

Bhadra, Ari, Meda, Mandavya, Salvani, Pojjihana, 
Marn, Yatsa, Ghosha, the valley of the Yamnna, Saras- 
vata, Matsya, Mathura, Kopa, Jyotisha, Dharmaranya, 
Surasena, Gauragriva, Uddehika near Bazana, Pandn, 
Page 153. Gnda = T<ir]eshar, Asvattha, Pancala, Saketa, Kaiika, 
Kuril = Taneshar, Kfilkoti, Kukura, Pariyatra, Audnm- 
bara, Kapishthala, Gaja. 

II. The names of the countries in the east : — 

i Anjana, Yrishabadhvaja, Padma-Tulya {sic), Yya- 

ghramukha, i.e. people with tiger-faces, Suhma, Kar- 
vata, Candrapura, Surpakarna, i.e. people with ears like 


sieves, Khasha, Magadha, Mount Sibira, Mithila, Sama- 
tata, Odra, Asvavadana, i.e. peoj^le with horse-faces, 
Dantnra, i.e. people with long teeth, Pragjyotisba, 
Lohitya, Krira-samudra (sic), i.e. the milk-sea, Pura- 
shfida, Udayagiri, i.e. the mountain of sunrise, Bhadra, 
Gauraka, Panndra, Utkala, Kasi, Mekala, Ambashtha, 
Ekapada, i.e. the one-footed people, Tamaliptika, Kau- 
salaka, Vardhamana. 

III. The names of the countries of the south-east 
(Agneya) :— 

Kosala, Kaliiiga, Vanga, Upavaiiga, Jatbara, Anga, 
Saulika, Vidarbha, Vatsa, Andhra, Colika (?), Urdhva- 
karna, i.e. people whose ears are directed upwards, 
Vrisha, Kalikera, Carmadvipa, the mountain Vindhya, 
Tripuri, Smasrudhara, Hemakiitya, Yyalagriva, i.e. Page 154. 
people whose bosoms are snakes, Mahagriva, i.e. people 
who have wide bosoms, Kishkindha, the country of the 
monkeys, Kandakasthala, Nishada, Kashtra, Dasarna, 
Purika, Nagnaparna, Savara. 

IV. The names of the countries in the south : — 
Lanka, i.e. the cupola of the earth, Kalajina, Sairi- 

kirna (?), Talikata, Girnagara, Malaya, Dardura, Ma- 
hendra, Mtilindya, Bharukaccha, Kankata, Tankana, 
Vanavasi on the coast, Sibika, Phanikara, Kohkana 
near the sea, Abhh'a, Akara, Vena a river, Avanti, i.e. 
the cityof Ujain, Dasapura, Gonarda, Keralaka, Karnata, 
Mahatavi, Citrakuta, Nasikya, Kollagiri, Cola, Kraun- 
cadvipa, Jatadhara, Kauverya, Rishyamiika, Vaidurya, 
Saiikha, Mukta, Atri, Varicara, Jarmapattana (sie), 
Dvipa, Ganarajya, Krishnavaidurya, Sibika, Suryadri, 
Kusumanaga, Tumbavana, Karmaneyaka, Yamyodadhi^ Page 155. 
Tapasasrama, Rishika, Kailci, Marucipattaua, Divarsa (!), 
Simhala, Rishabha, Baladevapattaua, Dandakavana, 
Timingilasana(?), Bhadra, Kaccha, Kunjaradari, Tamra- 

V. The names of the countries in the south-west 
{Nairrita) ; — 


Kamboja, Sindhn, Sauvira, i.e. Multan and Jahravar, 
Vadavamukha, Aravambasbtba, Kapila, Parasava, i.e. 
the Persians, Siidra, Barbara, Kiiata, Khanda, Kravya, 
Abhira, Cancuka, Hemagiri, Sindhu, Kalaka, Raivataka, 
Siirashtra, Badara, Dramicla, Maharnava, Narimukba, 
i.e. men with women's faces, i.e. the Turks, Anarta, 
Phenagiri, Yavana, i.e. the Greeks, Maraka, Karnapra- 

VI. The names of the countries in the west : — 
Maniman, Meghavan, Vanangha, Astagiri, i.e. the 

country of sunset, Aparantaka, Santika, Haihaya, Pra- 
sastadri, Vokkana, Pancanada, i.e. the union of the five 
rivers, Mathara, Parata, Tarakruti (?), Jringa, Vaisya, 
Kanaka, Saka, Mleccha, i.e. the Arabs. 

VII. The names of the countries in the north-west 
( Vdyava) : — 

MaiKlavya, Tukhara, Tfdahala, Madra, Asmaka, Kulii- 
rage 156. talahada, Strirajya, i.e. women amongst whom no man 
dwells longer than half a year, Nrisiilihavana, i.e. people 
with lion-faces, Khastha, i.e. people who are born from 
the trees, hanging on them by the navel-strings, Venu- 
mati (?), i.e. Tirmidh, Phalgulu, Guruha, Marukucca, 
Carmaraiiga, i.e. people with coloured skins, Ekavilo- 
cana, i.e. the one-eyed men, Sulika, Dirghagriva, i.e. 
people with long bosoms, which means with long necks, 
Dirghamukha, i.e. people with long faces, Dirghakesa, 
i.e. people with long hair. 

VIII. The names of the countries in the north : — 
Kailasa, Himavant, Vasumant, Giri, Dhanushman (!), 

i.e. the people with bows, Kraunca, Meru, Kurava, 
Uttarakurava, Kshudramina, Kaikaya, Vasati, Yamuna, 
i.e. a kind of Greeks, Bhogaprastba, Arjunayana, Ag^- 
nitya, Adarsa, Antardvipa, Trigarta, Turaganana, i.e. 
people with horse-faces, Svamukha, i.e. people with 
dog-faces, Kesadhara, Capitanasika, i.e. flat-noses, Da- 
sera, Kavatadhana, Saradhana, Takshasila, i.e. Marikala, 
Pushkalavati, i.e. Pukala, Kailavata, Kanthadhana, 


Ambara, Madraka, Malava, Panrava, KaccLara, Danda, 
Pingalaka, Manahala, Huna, Kohala, Sataka, Mandavya, 
Bhiitapura, Gandhara, Yasovati, Hematala, Kajanya, 
Khajara, Yaiidhe3'a, Dasameya, Syamaka, Kshema- 
dhurta (?). 

IX. The names of the countries in the north -east 
(Aisdna^ : — 

Meru, Kauashtharajya, Pasupala, Kira, Kastnira, 
Abhi, Sarada, Tangana, Kuluta, Sairindha, Eashtra, 
Brahmapura, Darva, Damara, Vanarajya, Kirata, Cina, 
Kauninda, Bhalla, Palola, Jatasura, Kunatha, Khasha, 
Ghosha, Kucika, Ekacarana, i.e. the one-footed people, 
Anuvisva, Suvarnabhumi, i.e. the gold land, Arvasu- 
dhana (szc),Nandavishtha, Paurava, Ciranivasana, Trine- 
tra, i.e. people with three eyes, Punjadri, Gandharva. 

Hindu astronomers determine the longitude of the 
inhabitable world by Lanka, which lies in its centre on 
the equator, whilst Yamakoti lies on its east, Komaka 
on its west, and Siddhapura on that part of the equator 
which is diametrically opposed to Lanka. Their remarks 
on the rising and setting of the heavenly bodies show 
that Yamakoti and Eiim are distant from each other 
by half a circle. It seems that they assign the countries 
of the West (i.e. North Africa) to Rum or the Roman 
Empire, because the Rum or Byzantine Greeks occupy 
the opposite shores of the same sea (the Mediterranean); 
for the Roman Empire has much northern latitude and 
penetrates high into the north. No part of it stretches 
far southward, and, of course, nowhere does it reach 
the equator, as the Hindus say with regard to Romaka. 

We shall here speak no more of Lanka (as we are 
going to treat of it in a separate chapter). Yamakoti 
is, according to Yakiib and Alfazari, the country where 
'is the city Tclra wdthin a sea. I have not found the 
slightest trace of this name in Indian literature. As 
kofi means castle and Yama is the angel of death, the 



word reminds me of Kangdiz, which, according to the 
Persians, had been built by Kaika'us or Jam in the 
most remote east, behind the sea. Kaikhusraii tra- 
versed the sea to Kangdiz when following the traces of 
Afrasiab the Turk, and there he went at the time of 
his anchorite life and expatriation. For diz means in 
Persian castle, as koti in the Indian language. Abii- 
Mashar of Balkh has based his geographical canon on 
Kangdiz as the o° of longitude or first meridian. 

How the Hindus came to suppose the existence of 
Siddhapura I do not know, for they believe, like our- 
selves, that behind the inhabited half-circle there is 
nothing but unnavigable seas. 

In what way the Hindus determine the latitude of 
a place has not come to our knowledge. That the 
longitude of the inhabitable world is a half-circle is a 
far-spread theory among their astronomers ; they differ 
(from Western astronomers) only as to the point which 
is to be its beginning. If we explain the theory of the 
Hindus as far as we understand it, their beginning of 
longitude is Ujain, which they consider as the eastern 
limit of one quarter (of the otKovixkin-j), whilst the limit 
of the second quarter lies in the west at some distance 
from the end of civilisation, as we shall hereafter ex- 
plain in the chapter about the difference of the longi- 
tudes of two places. 

The theory of the Western astronomers on this point 
is a double one. Some adopt as the beginning of longi- 
tude the shore of the (Atlantic) ocean, and they ex- 
tend the first quarter thence as far as the environs of 
Balkh. Now, according to this theory, things have been 
united which have no connection with each other. So 
Shapurkan and Ujain are placed on the same meridian. 
A theory which so little corresponds to reality is quite 
valueless. Others adopt the Islands of the Happy Ones 
as the beginning of longitude, and the quarter of the 
olKovfxein^ they extend thence as far as the neighbour- 


hood of Jiirjaii and Nisliapur. Both these theories are 
totally different from that of the Hindus. This subject, 
however, shall be more accurately investigated in a sub- 
sequent cha^Dter (p. 311). 

If I, by the grace of God, shall live long enough, I 
shall devote a special treatise to the longitude of Nisha- 
piir, where this subject shall be thoroughly inquired 

VOL. I, 

( 3o6 ) 



The midst of the inhabitable world, of its longitudinal 
extension from east to west on the equator, is by the 
astronomers (of the Muslims) called the cwpola of the 
earth, and the great circle which passes through the 
pole and this point of the equator is called the meridian 
of the cwpola. We must, however, observe that whatever 
may be the natural form of the earth, there is no place 
on it which to the exclusion of others deserves the 
name of a cupola ; that this term is only a metaphorical 
one to denote a point from which the two ends of the 
inhabitable world in east and west are equidistant, 
comparable to the top of a cupola or a tent, as all 
things hauging down from this top (tent-ropes or walls) 
have the same length, and their lower ends the same 
distances therefrom. But the Hindus never call this 
point by a term that in our language must be inter- 
preted by cujjolcc ; they only say that Laiika is between 
the two ends of the inhabitable world and without 
The story of latitude. There Ravana, the demon, fortified him- 
self when he had carried off the wife of Eama, the 
son of Dasaratha. His labyrinthine fortress is called 
^ jl::^<Ca' (?), whilst in our (Muslim) countries it is 
called Y dvana-koii, which has frequently been explained 
as Rome. 



The followiDg is the plan of the labyrinthine fort- 
ress : — 

Door of the road leading to the castle. 

Rama attacked Rfivana after having crossed the Page 159, 
ocean on a dyke of the length of lOO yojana, which he 
had constructed from a mountain in a place called 
Setiibandha, i.e. bridge of the ocean, east of Ceylon. He 
fought with him and killed him, and Eama's brother 
killed the brother of Ravana, as is described in the 
story of Rama and Ramayana. Thereupon he broke 
the dyke in ten different places by arrow-shots. 

According to the Hindus, Lanka is the castle of the 
demons. It is 30 yojana above the earth, i.e. Sofar- 
sakh. Its length from east to west is lOO yojana ; its 
breadth from north to south is the same as the height 
(i.e. thirty). 

It is on account of Lanka and the island of Vadava- 
mukha that the Hindus consider the south as foreboding 
evil. In no work of piety do they direct themselves 

On the 
island of 



southward or walk southward. The south occurs only 
in connection with impious actions. 
The first The line on which the astronomical calculations are 

based (as 0° of longitude), which passes in a straight 
line from Lanka to Meru, passes — 

(i.) Through the city of Ujain (Ujjayini) in Malava 

(2.) Through the neighbourhood of the fortress llohi- 
taka in the district of Multan, which is now deserted. 

(3.) Through Kurukshetra, i.e. the plain of Taneshar 
(Sthanesvara), in the centre of their country. 

(4.) Through the river Yamuna, on which the city of 
Mathura is situated. 

(5.) Through the mountains of the Himavant, which 
are covered with everlasting snow, and where the 
rivers of their country rise. Behind them lies Mount 

The city of Ujain, which in the tables of the longi- 
tudes of places is mentioned as Uzain, and as situated 
on the sea, is in reality lOO yojana distant from the sea. 
Some undiscriminating Muslim astronomer has uttered 
the opinion that Ujain lies on the meridian of Al- 
shabiirkan in Al-jiizajan ; but such is not the case, for 
it lies by many degrees of the equator more to the east 
than Al-shaburkan. There is some confusion about the 
longitude of Ujain, particularly among such (Muslim) 
astronomers as mix up with each other the different 
opinions about the first degree of longitude both in east 
and west, and are unable to distinguish them properly. 

No sailor who has traversed the ocean round the 
The author's place which is ascribed to Laiika, and has travelled in 
aWLalka that direction, has ever given such an account of it as 
bami'^"^'^" tallies with the traditions of the Hindus or resembles 
them. In fact, there is no tradition which makes the 
thing appear to us more possible (than it is according 
to the reports of the Hindus). The name Lanka, how- 
ever, makes me think of something entirely different, 


viz. that the clove is called lavang, because it is im- 
ported from a country called Laiiga. According to the 
uniform report of all sailors, the ships which are sent 
to this country land their cargo in boats, viz. ancient 
Western dcnars and various kinds of merchandise, 
striped Indian cloth, salt, and other usual articles of 
trade. These wares are deposited on the shore on 
leather sheets, each of which is marked with the name 
of its owner. Thereupon the merchants retire to their 
ships. On the following day they find the sheets 
covered with cloves by way of payment, little or much, 
as the natives happen to own. 

The people with whom this trade is carried on are 
demons according to some, savage men according to 

The Hindus who are the neig-hbours of those regions a certain 

, . , ° . wind as the 

(of Lanka) believe that the small-pox is a wind blowing cause of 

^ ATI- small-pox. 

from the island of Lanka towards the continent to carry 
off souls. According to one report, some men warn 
people beforehand of the blowing of this wind, and can 
exactly tell at what times it will reach the different 
parts of the country. After the small-pox has broken 
out, they recognise from certain signs whether it is 
virulent or not. Against the virulent small-pox they 
Lise a method of treatment by which they destroy only 
one single limb of the body, but do not kill. They 
use as medicine cloves, which .they give to the patient 
to drink, together with gold-dust ; and, besides, the 
males tie the cloves, which are similar to date-kernels. Page i6o. 
to their necks. If these precautions are taken, per- 
haps nine people out of ten will be proof against this 

All this makes me think that the Lanka which the 
Hindus mention is identical with the clove-country 
Langa, though their descriptions do not tally. How- 
ever, there is no communication kept up with the latter, 
for people say that when perchance a merchant is left 


behind on this island, there is no more trace found of 
him. And this my conjecture is strengthened by the 
fact that, according to the book of Rama and Ram ay ana, 
behind the well-known country of Sindh there are 
cannibals. And, on the other hand, it is well known 
among all seamen that cannibalism is the cause of the 
savagery and bestiality of the iuhabitants of the island 
of Laugabaliis. 

( 311 ) 

On the 



He who aims at accuracy in this subject must try to 
determine the distance between the spheres of the meri- method of 
dians of the two places m question. Muslim astrono- longitude. 
mers reckon by equatorial times corresponding to the 
distance between the two meridians, and begin to count 
from one (the western one) of the two places. The 
sum of equatorial minutes which they find is called 
the difference hetiveen the two longitudes ; for they con- 
sider as the longitude of each place the distance of its 
meridian from the great circle passing through the pole 
of the equator, which has been chosen as the limit of 
the oLKovfjievi'i, and for this first meridian they have 
chosen the ivestern (not the eastern) limit of the oIkov- 
likvt]. It is all the same whether these equatorial times, 
whatsoever their number for each meridian may be, are 
reckoned as 360th parts of a circle, or as its 6oth parts, 
so as to correspond to the day-minutes, or as farsakh 
or yojana. 

The Hindus employ in this subject methods which 
do not rest on the same principle as ours. They are 
totally different ; and howsoever different they are, it is 
perfectly clear that none of them hits the right mark. 
As we (Muslims) note for each place its longitude, the 
Hindus note the number of yojanas of its distance from 
the meridian of Ujain. And the more to the west the 
position of a place is, the gi;eater is the number of 



On the cir- 
of the earth. 

Page i6i. 


from tiie 



and the 



yojanas ; the more to the east it is, the smaller is this 
number. They call it desdntara, i.e. the differe^ice behoeen 
the places. Further, they multiply the desdntara by 
the mean daily motion of the planet (the sun), and 
divide the product by 4800. Then the quotient repre- 
sents that amount of the motion of the star which 
corresponds to the number of yojana in question, i.e. 
that which must be added to the mean place of the sun, 
as it has been found for moon or midnight of Ujain, if 
you want to find the longitude of the place in question. 

The number which they use as divisor (4800) is the 
number of the yojanas of the circumference of the earth, 
for the difference between the spheres of the meridians 
of the two places stands in the same relation to the 
whole circumference of the earth as the mean motion 
of the plauet (sun) from one place to the other to its 
whole daily rotation round the earth. 

If the circumference of the earth is 4800 yojanas, the 
diameter is nearly 1527 ; but Pulisa reckons it as 1600, 
Brahmagupta as 1581 ijojanas, each of which is equal 
to eight miles. The same value is given in the astro- 
nomical handbook Al-arJiand as 1050. This number, 
however, is, according to Ibn Tarik, the radius, whilst 
the diameter is 2100 yojanas, each yojana being reck- 
oned as equal to four miles, and the circumference is 
stated as C^gGj-^ yojanas. 

Brahmagupta uses 4800 as the number of yojanas 
of the earth's circumference in his canon Khanda- 
hhddyaka, but in the amended edition he uses, instead 
of this, the corrected circumference, ao-reeino- with Pulisa. 
The correction he propounds is this, that he multiplies 
the yojanas of the earth's circumference by the sines of 
the complement of the latitude of the place, and divides 
the product by the sinus totus ; then the quotient is 
the corrected circumference of the earth, or the number 
of yojanas of the parallel circle of the place in question. 
Sometimes this number is called the collar of the meri- 


dian. Hereby people are frequently misled to think 
that the 4800 yojanas are the corrected circumference 
for the city of Ujain. If we calculate it (according to 
Brahmagupta's correction), we find the latitude of Ujain 
to be i6\ degrees, whilst in reality it is 24 degrees. 

The author of the canon Karana-tilaka makes this 
correction in the following way. He multiplies the 
diameter of the earth by 12 and divides the product 
by the equinoctial shadow of the place. The gnomon 
stands in the same relation to this shadow as the radius 
of the parallel circle of the place to the sine of the lati- 
tude of the place, not to the sinus totiis. Evidently the 
author of this method thinks that we have here the 
same kind of equation as that which the Hindus call Theequa- 
vyastatrairasika, i.e. the places %vit 11 the retrograde motion, traircdika. 
An example of it is the following. 

If the price of a harlot of 15 years be, e.g. 10 denars, 
how much will it be when she is 40 years old ? 

The method is this, that you multiply the first number 
by the second (15 x 10= 150), and divide the pro- 
duct by the third number (150: 40 = 3f). Then the 
quotient or fourth number is her price when she has 
become old, viz. 3f denars. 

Now the author of the Kar ana-til aire, after having 
found that the straight shadow increases with the lati- 
tude, whilst the diameter of the circle decreases, thought, 
according to the analogy of the just mentioned calcula- 
tion, that between this increase and decrease there is a 
certain ratio. Therefore he maintains that the diameter 
of the circle decreases, i.e. becomes gradually smaller 
than the diameter of the earth, at the same rate as the 
straight shadow ^?^nYr(S6s. Thereupon he calculates the 
corrected circumference from the corrected diameter. 

After having thus found the longitudinal difference 
between two places, he observes a lunar eclipse, and 
fixes in day-minutes the difference between the time of 
its appearance in the two places. Pulisa multiplies 


these day-minutes by the circumference of the earth, 
and divides the product by 6o, viz. the minutes (or 
6oth parts) of the daily revohition. The quotient, 
then, is the number of the yojanas of the distance 
between the two places. 

This calculation is correct. The result refers to the 
great circle on which Lanka lies. 

Brahmagupta calculates in the same manner, save 
that he multiplies by 4800. The other details have 
already been mentioned. 
Calculation As far as this, one clearly recognises what the Hindu 
destmtara astrouomers aim at, be their method correct or faulty. 
iTfazart ° "^ However, we cannot say the same of their calculation of 
the desdiitara from the latitudes of two different places, 
which is reported by Alfazari in his canon in the fol- 
lowing manner : — 

" Add together the squares of the sines of the lati- 
tudes of the two places, and take the root of the sum. 
This root is the j^ortio. 

" Further, square the difference of these two sines 
and add it to the 2^ortio. Multiply the sum by 8 and 
divide the product by 377. The quotient, then, is the 
distance between the two places, that is to say, according 
to a rough calculation. 

" Further, multiply the difference between the two 
latitudes by the yojanas of the circumference of the 
earth and divide the product by 360." 

Evidently this latter calculation is nothing but the 
transferring of the difference between the two latitudes 
from the measure of degrees and minutes to the mea- 
sure of yojanas. Then he proceeds : — 

" Now the square of the quotient is subtracted from 
the square of the roughly calculated distance, and of 
the remainder you take the root, which represents the 
straight yojanas.''^ 
Page 162. Evidently the latter number represents the distance 

between the spheres of the meridians of the two places 


on the circle of latitude, whilst the roughly calculated 
number is the distance between the two places in 

This method of calculation is found in the astrono- The author 
mical handbooks of the Hindus in conformity with the this method. 
account of Alfazari, save in oue particular. The here- 
mentioned j^oriio is the root of the difference between 
the squares of the sines of the two latitudes, not the 
sum of the squares of the sines of the two latitudes. 

But whatever this method may be, it does not hit the 
right mark. We have fully explained it in several of 
our publications specially devoted to this subject, and 
there we have shown that it is impossible to determine 
the distance between two places and the difference of 
longitude between them by means of their latitudes 
alone, and that only in case one of these two things is 
known (the distance between two places or the differ- 
ence between the longitudes of them), by this and 
by means of the two latitudes, the third value can be 

Based on the same principle, the following calcula- Another 
tion has been found, there being no indication by whom of the' 

.J . . -, demntara. 

it was invented : — 

'•' Multiply the yojanas of the distance between two 
places by 9, and divide the product by (lacuna) ; the 
root of the difference between its square and the square 
of the difference of the two latitudes. Divide this 
number by 6. Then you get as quotient the number 
of day-minutes of the difference of the two longi- 

It is clear that the author of this calculation first 
takes the distance (between the two places), then he 
reduces it to the measure of the circumference of the 
circle. However, if we invert the calculation and re- 
duce the parts (or degrees) of the great circle to yojanas 
according to his method, we get the number 3200, i.e. 
100 yojanas less than we have given on the authority of 


Al-arkand (v. p. 312). The double of it, 6400, coines 
near the number mentioned by Ibn Tarik {i.e. 6596^^' 
V. p. 312), being only about 200 yojanas smaller. 

We shall now give the latitudes of some places, as we 
hold them to be correct. 
A criticism All canons of the Hindus asfree in this that the line 

of Ary.a- . 'itit t-t / 

bhataof connecting Laiika with Meru divides the oiKovixevq 
puraouthe lengthways in two halves, and that it passes through 
ujaiii.' the city of Ujain, the fortress of Rohitaka, the river 
Yamuna, the plain of Taneshar, and the Cold Moun- 
tains. The longitudes of the places are measured by 
their distance from this line. On this head I know of 
no difference between them except the following pas- 
sage in the book of Aryabhata of Kusumapura : — 

" People say that Kurukshetra, i.e. the plain of 
Taneshar, lies on the line which connects Lanka with 
Meru and passes through Ujain. So they report on 
the authority of Pulisa. But he was much too intelli- 
gent not to have known the subject better. The times 
of the eclipses prove that statement to be erroneous, 
and Prithusvamin maintains that the difference be- 
tween the longitudes of Kurukshetra and Ujain is 120 

These are the words of Aryabhata. 
ontheiati- Ya'kub Ibu Tarik says in his book entitled The Com- 
ujahi'!^ position of the Spheres, that the latitude of Ujain is 4f 
degrees, but he does not say whether it lies in the north 
or the south. Besides, he states it, on the authority of 
the book Al-Arlxcind, to be 4|- degrees. We, however, 
have found a totally different latitude of Ujain in 
the same book in a calculation relating to the distance 
between Ujain and Almansura, which the author calls 
Brahmanavata, i.e. Bamhanwa, viz. latitude of Ujain, 
22° 29'; latitude of Almansura, 24° i\ 

According to the same book, the straight shadow in 
Lohaniyye, i.e. Loharani, is 5f digits. 


On the other hand, however, all the canons of the 
Hindus agree in this, that the latitude of Ujain is 24 
degrees, and that the sun culminates over it at the time 
of the summer solstice. 

Balabhadra, the commentator, gives as the latitude 
of Kanoj 26" 35'; as that of Taneshar, 30° 12'. Page 163. 

The learned Abu- Ahmad, the son of Catlaghtagin, 
calculated the latitude of the city of Karli (?), and 
found it to be 28° o\ that of Taneshar 27', and both 
places to be distant from each other by three days' 
marches. What the cause of this difference is I do 
not know. 

According to the book Karaiia-sdra, the latitude of 
Kashmir is 34° 9', and the straight shadow there S-^ 

I myself have found the latitude of the fortress 
Lauhur to be 34"^ 10'. The distance from Lauhur to 
the capital of Kashmir is 56 miles, half the way being 
rugged country, the other half plain. What other lati- 
tudes I have been able to observe myself, I shall 
enumerate in this place : — 

Ghazna . . . -33° 35' 
Kabul . . . .33° 47' 
Kandi, the guard-station 

of the prince . . 33° 55' 
Dunpur .... 34° 20' 

The distance between the latter place and Mult an is 
nearly 200 miles. 

S^lkot 32° 58' 

Mandakkakor . . . . . 31° 50' 
Multan ...... 29° 40' 

If the latitudes of places are know^n, and the distances 
between them have been measured, the difference be- 
tween their longitudes also may be found according to 
the methods explained in the books to which we have 
referred the reader. 


• 34° 43' 



• 34° 44' 



• 34° 30' 

Jailam . 

• 33° 20' 

The fortress 


. 32° 0' 


We ourselves have (in our travels) in their country 
not passed beyond the places which we have mentioned, 
nor have we learned any more longitudes and latitudes 
(of places in India) from their literature. It is God 
alone who helps us to reach our objects ! 

( 319 ) 



According to the relation of Mnliammad Ibn Zaka- ontheno- 

A»iA,..i . • iM 1 fi tion of time 

•riyya Alrazi, the most ancient philosophers oi the according to 
Greeks thought that the following five things existed other pwio- 
from all eternity, the creator, the universal soul, the first ^°^'^^''"" 
vXt], space in the abstract, and time m the abstract. On 
these things Alrazi has founded that theory of his, 
which is at the bottom of his whole philosophy. 
Further, he distinguishes between time and duration 
in so far as numher applies to the former, not to the 
latter ; for a thing which can be numbered is finite, 
whilst duration is infinite. Similarly, philosophers 
have explained time as duration with a beginning and 
an end, and eternity as duration without beginning and 

According to Alrazi, those five things are necessary 
j)ostulatcs of the actually existing world. For that 
w^hich the senses perceive in it is the vX^i acquiring 
shape by means of combination. Besides, the vXr] 
occupies some place, and therefore we must admit the 
existence of space. The changes apparent in the world 
of sense compel us to assume the existence of time, for 
some of them are earlier, others later, and the hefore 
and the aftervmrds, the earlier and the later, and the 
simultaneous can only be perceived by means of the 


notion of time, which is a necessary postulate of the 
existing world. 

Further, there are living heings in the existing world. 
Therefore we must assume the existence of the soul. 
Among these living beings there are intelligent ones, 
capable of carrying the arts to the highest perfection ; 
and this compels us to assume the existence of a 
Creator, who is wise and intelligent, who establishes 
and arranges everything in the best possible manner, 
and inspires people with the force of intelligence for 
the purpose of liberation. 

On the other hand, some sophists consider eternity 
and time as one and the same thing, and declare the 
motion which serves to measure time alone to be finite. 

Another one declares eternity to be the circular 
motion. No doubt this motion is indissolubly con- 
nected with that being which motes by it, and which 
is of the most sublime nature, since it lasts for ever. 
Thereupon he rises in his argumentation from the 
moving being to its mover, and from the moving mover 
to the first mover who is motionless. 

This kind of research is very subtle and obscure. 
But for this, the opinions would not differ to such an 
extent that some people declare that there is no time 
at all, while others declare that time is an independent 
substance. According to Alexander of Aphrodisias, 
Aristotle gives in his book c^vo-i/ct) aKpoacris the foUow- 
Page 164. ing argumentation : " Everything moving is moved by 
a mover ; " and Galenus says on the same subject that 
he could not understand the notion of time, much less 
prove it. 
The notions The theory of the Hindus on this subject is rather 
phiioso-^ poor in thought and very little developed. Varahami- 
hira says in the opening of his book Samkitd, when 
speaking of that which existed from all eternity: "It 
has been said in the ancient books that the first 
primeval thing was darkness, which is not identical 

phers on 


with the black colour, but a kind of non-existence like 
the state of a sleeping person. Then God created this 
world for Brahman as a cupola for him. He made it 
to consist of two parts, a higher and a lower one, and 
placed the sun and moon in it." Kapila declares : 
" God has always existed, and with him the world, with 
all its substances and bodies. He, however, is a cause 
to the world, and rises by the subtlety of his nature 
above the gross nature of the world." Kumbhaka 
says: "The primeval one is Mahdhlmta, i.e. the com- 
pound of the five elements. Some declare that the 
primeval thing is time, others nature, and still others 
maintain that the director is karmaii, i.e. action." 

In the book Vishmi-Dharma, Vajra speaks to Mar- 
kandeya : "Explain to me the times ; " whereupon the 
latter answers: "Duration is dtma2mrusJia," i.e. a 
breath, and purusha, which means the lord of the uni- 
verse. Thereupon, he commenced explaining to him 
the divisions of time and their dominants, just as we 
have propounded these things in detail in the proper 
chapters (chap, xxxiii. et seq.). 

The Hindus have divided duration into two periods, 
a period of motion, which has been determined as time, 
and a period of rest, which can be determined only in 
an imaginary way according to the analogy of that 
which has first been determined, the period of motion. 
The Hindus hold the eternity of the Creator to be 
determinable, not measurable, since it is infinite. We, 
however, cannot refrain from remarking that it is 
extremely difficult to imagine a thing which is deter- 
minable but not measurable, and that the whole idea 
is very far-fetched. We shall here communicate so 
much as will suffice for the reader of the opinions of 
the Hindus on this subject, as far as we know them. 

The common notion of the Hindus regarding creation The Day of 

, P 1 1 T • T Brahman a 

IS a popular one, tor, as we nave already mentioned, period of 
they believe matter to be eternal. Therefore, they do Night 0/ 
YOL. I. X 


not, by the word creation, understand a formation of 
something out of nothing. They mean by creation only 
the working with a piece of clay, working out various 
combinations and figures in it, and making such arrange- 
ments with it as will lead to certain ends and aims 
which are potentially in it. For this reason they at- 
tribute the creation to angels and demons, nay, even 
to human beings, who create either because they carry 
out some legal obligation which afterwards proves 
beneficial for the creation, or because they intend to 
allay their passions after having become envious and 
ambitious. So, for instance, they relate that Visva- 
mitra, the Rishi, created the buffaloes for this purpose, 
that mankind should enjoy all the good and useful 
things which they afford. All this reminds one of the 
words of Plato in the book Timceus : "The deol, i.e. 
the gods, who, according to an order of their father, 
carried out the creation of man, took an immortal soul 
and made it the beginning ; thereupon they fashioned 
like a turner a mortal body upon it." 

Here in this context we meet with a duration of time 
which Muslim authors, following the example of the 
Hindus, call the years of the ivorld. People think that 
at their beginnings and endings creation and destruc- 
tion take place as kinds of new formations. This, 
however, is not the belief of the people at large. Ac- 
cording to them, this duration is a day of Brahman 
and a consecutive night of Brahman ; for Brahman is 
intrusted with creating. Further, the coming into 
existence is a motion in that which grows out of some- 
thing different from itself, and the most apparent of 
the causes of this motion are the meteoric motors, i.e. 
the stars. These, however, will never exercise regular 
influences on the world below them unless they move 
and change their shapes in everj^ direction (= their 
aspects). Therefore the coming into existence is limited 
to the clay of Brahman^ because in it only, as the 


Hindus believe, the stars are moving and their spheres Page 165. 
revolving according to their pre-established order, and 
in consequence the process of coming into existence 
is developed on the surface of the earth without any 

On the contrary, during the night of Brahman the 
spheres rest from their motions, and all the stars, as 
well as their apsides and nodes, stand still in one 
particular place. 

In consequence all the affairs of the earth are in one 
and the same unchanging condition, therefore the coming 
into existence has ceased, because he who makes things 
come into existence rests. So both the processes of act- 
ing and of being acted upon are suspended ; the elements 
rest from entering into new metamorphoses and com- 
binations, as they rest now in {lacuna ; perhaps : the 
night), and they prepare themselves to belong to new 
beings, which will come into existence on the following 
day of Brahman. 

In this way existence circulates during the life of 
Brahman, a subject which we shall propound in its 
proper place. 

According to these notions of the Hindus, creation Critical 
and destruction only refer to the surface of the earth, the author. 
By such a creation, not one piece of clay comes into 
existence which did not exist before, and by such a 
destruction not one piece of clay which exists ceases to 
exist. It is quite impossible that the Hindus should 
have the notion of a creation as long as they believe 
that matter existed from all eternity. 

The Hindus represent to their common people the Brahman's 

•1 'TIT p-r-.i T ^^'akiiig and 

two durations here mentioned, the day 01 Brahman and sleeping. 
the night of Brahman, as his ivaking and sleeping ; and 
we do not disapprove of these terms, as they denote 
something which has a beginning and end. Further, 
the whole of the life of Brahman, consisting of a sue- 


cession of motion and rest in the world during such a 
period, is considered as applying only to existence, not 
to non-existence, since during it the piece of clay exists 
and, besides, also its shape. The life of Brahman is only 
a day for that being who is above him, i.e. Purusha (cf 
chap. XXXV.). When he dies all compounds are dissolved 
during his night, and in consequence of the annihilation 
of the compounds, that also is suspended which kept 
him (Brahman) within the laws of nature. This, then, 
is the rest of Purusha, and of all that is under his 
control {lit. and of his vehicles). 

When common people describe these things, they 
make the night of Brahman follow after the night of 
Purusha ; and as Purusha is the name for a man, they 
attribute to him sleeping and waking. They derive 
destruction from his snoriug, in consequence of which 
all things that hang together break asunder, and 
everything standing is drowned in the sweat of his 
forehead. And more of the like they produce, things 
which the mind declines to accept and the ear refuses 
to hear. 

Therefore the educated Hindus do not share these 
opinions (regarding the waking and sleeping of Brah- 
man), for they know the real nature of sleep. They know 
that the body, a compound of antipathetic humores, 
requires sleep for the purpose of resting, and for this 
purpose that all which nature requires, after being 
wasted, should be duly replaced. So, in consequence 
of the constant dissolution, the body requires food in 
order to replace that which had been lost by emacia- 
tion. Further, it requires cohabitation for the purpose 
of perpetuating the species by the body, as without 
cohabitation the species would die out. Besides, the 
body requires other things, evil ones, but necessary, 
while simple substances can dispense with them, as 
also He can who is above them, like to whom there is 


Further, the Hindus maintain that the world will Notions re- 
perish in consequence of the conjunction of the twelve end of the 
suns, which appear one after the other in the different 
months, ruining the earth by burning and calcining it, 
and by withering and drying up all moist substances. 
Further, the world perishes in consequence of the union 
of the four rains which now come down in the different 
seasons of the year ; that which has been calcined attracts 
the water and is thereby dissolved. Lastly, the world 
perishes by the cessation of light and by the prevalence 
of darkness and non-existence. By all this the world 
will be dissolved into atoms and be scattered. 

The Matsya-Parctna says that the fire which burns 
the world has come out of the water ; that until then it 
dwelt on Mount Mahisha in the Kusha-Dvipa, and was 
called by the name of this mountain. 

The VishiuL-Piirdna says that " Maharloka lies above 
the pole, and that the duration of the stay there is one p^ge 166. 
halloa. When the three worlds burn, the fire and 
smoke injure the inhabitants, and then they rise and 
emigrate to Janaloka, the dwelling-place of the sons of 
Brahman, who preceded creation, viz. Sanaka. Sananda, 
Sanandanada (?), Asuras, Kapila, Yodhu, and Pafica- 

The context of these passages makes it clear that Abu-Ma'- 
this destruction of the world takes place at the end of a Indian 
kaljia, and hence is derived the theory of Abii-Mashar 
that a deluge takes place at the conjunction of the 
planets, because, in fact, they stand in conjunction at 
the end of each caturyuga and at the beginning of each 
kaliyuga. If this conjunction is not a complete one, 
the deluge, too, will evidently not attain the highest 
degree of its destructive power. The farther we advance 
in the investigation of these subjects, the more light 
will be shed on all ideas of this kind, and the better 
the reader will understand all words and terms occur- 
ring in this context. 







Aleranshahri records a tradition, as representing the 
belief of the Buddhists, which much resembles the silly 
tales just mentioned. On the sides of Mount Meru 
there are four worlds, which are alternately civilised or 
desert. A world becomes desert when it is overpowered 
by the fire, in consequence of the rising of seven suns, 
one after the other, over it, when the water of the 
fountains dries up, and the burning fire becomes so 
strong as to penetrate into the world. A world becomes 
civilised when the fire leaves it and migrates to another 
world ; after it has left, a strong wind rises in the world, 
drives the clouds, and makes them rain, so that the 
world becomes like an ocean. Out of its foam shells 
are produced, with which the souls are connected, and 
out of these human beings originate when the water 
has sunk into the ground. Some Buddhists think that 
a man comes by accident from the perishing world to 
the growing world. Since he feels unhappy on account 
of his being alone, out of his thought there arises a 
spouse, and from this couple generation commences. 

( 327 ) 



According to the general usage of Muslims,. Hindus, Definition 
and others, a day or nychthemeron means the dura- nighf ^" 
tion of one revolution of the sun in a rotation of the 
universe, in which he starts from the one half of a 
great circle and returns to the same. Apparently it is 
divided into two halves : the day (i.e. the time of the 
sun's being visible to the inhabitants of a certain place 
on earth), and the 7iiyJit (i.e. the time of his being in- 
visible to them). His being visible and being invisible 
are relative facts, which differ as the horizons differ. 
It is well known that the horizon of the equator, which 
the Hindus call the country ivithout latitude, cuts the 
circles parallel to the meridian in two halves. In con- 
sequence, day and night are always equal there. How- 
ever, the horizons which cut the parallel circles without 
passing through their pole divide them into two un- 
equal halves, the more so the smaller the parallel circles 
are. In consequence, there day and night are unequal, 
except at the times of tbe two equinoxes, when on the 
whole earth, except Meiu and Yadavamukha, day and 
night are equal. Then all the places north and south 
of the line share in this peculiarity of the line, but only 
at this time, not at any other. 

The beginning of the day is the sun's rising above Mannshy&. 
the horizon, the beginning of the night his disappearing ^^^^^^^'*" 
below it. The Hindus consider the day as the first, the 


Page 167. night as the second, part of the nychthemeron. There- 
fore they call the former Sctvana, i.e. a day depending 
on the rising of the sun. Besides, they call it Manu- 
sliydhordtra, i.e. a human day, because, in fact, the great 
mass of their people do not know any other kind of day 
but this. Now, assuming the Sdvana to be known to 
the reader, we shall in the following use it as a standard 
and gauge, in order thereby to determine all the other 
kinds of days. 

Day of the After tJu Jiuman day follows Pitrindm aliordtra, i.e. 

fatheis. ' ' 

the nychthemeron of the forefathers, whose spirits, 
according to the belief of the Hindus, dwell in the 
sphere of the moon. Its day and night depend upon 
light and darkness, not upon the rising and setting in 
relation to a certain horizon. When the moon stands 
in the highest parts of the sphere with reference to 
them, this is a day to them ; and when it stands in the 
lowest parts, it is night to them. Evidently their moon 
is the time of conjunction or full moon, and their mid- 
night is opposition or new moon. Therefore the nych- 
themeron of the forefathers is a complete lunar month, 
the day beginning at the time of half-moon, when the 
light on the moon's body begins to increase, and the 
night beginning at the time of half-moon, when her 
light begins to wane. This follows of necessity from 
the just-mentioned determination of the noon and mid- 
night of the nychthemeron of the forefathers. Besides, 
it may be brought near to the reader by a comparison, 
as the bright half of the light on the moon's body may 
be compared to the rising of half of the globe of the 
sun over the horizon, and the other half's setting below 
the horizon. The day of this nychthemeron extends 
from the last quarter of a month to the first quarter of 
the succeeding month ; the night from the first to the 
second quarter of one identical month. The totality 
of these two halves is the nychthemeron of the fore- 


Thus the subject is explained by the author of Vishnv- 
Dharma both at large and in detail, but afterwards he 
treats it a second time with very little understanding, 
and identifies the day of the forefathers with the hlack 
half of the month from opposition to conjunction, and 
their night with its wldtc half, whilst the correct state- 
ment is that which w^e have just mentioned. This view 
is also confirmed by their custom of offering gifts of 
food to the forefathers on the day of conjunction, for 
they explain noon to be the time of taking food. For 
this reason they offer food to the forefathers at the 
same time when they themselves take it. 

Next follows the Dirydhordtra, i.e. the nychthemeron cayof ti.e 
of the angels. It is known that the horizon of the 
greatest latitude, i.e. that of 90 degrees, where the pole 
stands in the zenith, is the equator, not exactly, but 
approximately, because it is a little below the visible 
horizon for that place on earth which is occupied by 
Mount Meru ; for its top and slopes the horizon in 
question and the equator may be absolutely identical, 
although the visible horizon lies a little below it {i.e. 
farther south). Further, it is evident that the zodiac 
is divided into two halves by being intersected by the 
equator, the one half lying above the equator {i.e. north 
of it), the second half below it. As long as the sun 
marches in the signs of northern declination it revolves 
like a mill, since the diurnal arcs which he describes 
are parallel to the horizon, as in the case of the sun- 
dials. For those who live under the north pole the 
sun appears above the horizon, therefore they have day, 
whilst for those living under the south pole the sun is 
concealed below the horizon, and therefore they have 
night. When, then, the sun migrates to the southern Page 168. 
signs, he revolves like a mill below the horizon {i.e. 
south of the equator) ; hence it is night to the people 
living under the north pole and day to those living 
under the south pole. 


The dwellings of the Devaka, i.e. the spiritual beings, 
are under the two poles ; therefore this kind of day- 
is called by their name, i.e. the nychthemeron of the 

Aryabhata of Kusumapnra says that the Deva see 
one half of the solar year, the Danava the other; that 
the Pitaras see one half of the lunar month, human 
beings the other. So one revolution of the sun in the 
zodiac affords day and night both to the Deva and 
Danava, and their totality is a nychthemeron. 

In consequence our year is identical with the nych- 
themeron of tbe Deva. In it, however, day and night 
are not equal (as in the nychthemeron of the fore- 
fathers), because the sun moves slowly in the half of 
the northern declination about its apogee, by which the 
day becomes a little longer. However, this difference 
is not equal to the difference between the visible horizon 
and the real one, for this cannot be observed on the 
globe of the sun. Besides, according to Hindu notions, 
the inhabitants of those places are raised above the 
surface of the earth, dwelling on Mount Mem. Who- 
ever holds this view holds regarding the height of Meru 
the same opinions as those we have described in the 
proper place (in chap, xxiii.). In consequence of this 
height of Mount Meru, its horizon must fall a little 
lower (i.e. more southward than the equator), and in 
consequence the rate of the day's being longer than the 
night is lessened (as then the sun does not entirely 
reach his northern apogee, where he makes the longest 
days). If this were anything else but simply a reli- 
gious tradition of the Hindus, besides being one regard- 
ing which even they do not agree among themselves, 
we should try to find, by astronomical calculation, the 
amount of this depression of the horizon of Mount 
Meru below the equator, but as there is no use in this 
subject (Mount Meru being simply an invention), we 
drop it. 


Some uneducated Hindu heard people speak of the 
day of such a nychthemeron in the north, and of its 
night in the south. In connection with these elements 
he determined the two parts of the year by the two 
halves of the zodiac, the one which ascends from the 
winter solstice, called the northern, and the one which 
descends from the summer solstice, called the southern. 
Then he identified the day of this nychthemeron with 
the ascending half, and its night with the descending 
half. All of which he has eternised in his books. 

Not much better is what the author of the Vishmi- 
Dharina says : — "The half beginning with Capricornus 
is the day of the Asura, i.e. the Danavas, and their 
night begins with the sign of Cancer." Previously he 
had said: ''The half beginning with Aries is the day 
of the Deva." This author acted without any under- 
standing of the subject, for he simply confounds the 
two poles with each other (for accordiug to this theory 
the half of the sun's revolution, beginning with Capri- 
cornus or the winter solstice, would be the day of the 
beings under the north pole or the Devas, not that of 
the beings under the south pole or Asuras, and the 
revolution of the sun beginning with Cancer or the 
summer solstice would be the day of the Asuras, not 
their night). If this author had really understood the 
sentence, and had known astronomy, he would have 
come to other conclusions. 

Next follows the Brahmdhordtra, i.e. the nvchtheme- DayofBrah 
ron of Brahman. It is not derived from light and dark- 
ness (as that of the forefathers), nor from the appearing 
or disappearing of a heavenly body (like that of the 
Devas), but from the physical nature of created things, 
in consequence of which they move in the day and rest 
in the night. The length of the nychthemeron of 
Brahman is 8,640,000,000 of our years. During one 
half of it, i.e. during the day, the £ether, with all that 
is in it, is moving, the earth is producing, and the 



changes of existence and destruction are constantly 
going on upon the surface of the earth. During the 
other half, i.e. the night, there occurs the opposite of 
everything which occurs in the day ; the earth is not 
changing, because those things which produce the 
changes are resting and all motions are stopped, as 
nature rests in the night and in the winter, and con- 

PageiGg. ccntrates itself, preparing for a new existence in the 
day and in the summer. 

Each day of Brahman is a Ixxdpa, as also each night, 
and a kalpa is that space of time which Muslim authors 
call the year of the Sindhind. 

Day of Lastly follows the Furushdhordtra, i.e. the nychthe- 

meron of the All-soul, which is also called Mahdlalpa, 
i.e. the greatest Jcalpa. The Hindus only use it for the 
purpose of determining duration in general by some- 
thing like a notion of time, but do not specify it as 
day and night. I almost feel inclined to think that 
the day of this nychthemeron means the duration of 
the soul's being connected with the vXrj, whilst the 
night means the duration of their being separated from 
each other, and of the resting of the souls (from the 
fatigue of being mixed up with the vXi-j), and that that 
condition which necessitates the soul's being connected 
with the vXrj or its being separated from the vXi-j reaches 
its periodical end at the end of this nychthemeron. 
The Vishnu-Dharma says: "The life of Brahman is 
the day of Purusha, and the night of Purusha has the 
same length." 

The Hindus agree in assigning to the life of Brahman 
a hundred of his years. The number of our years which 
corresponds to one of his years betrays itself to be a 
multiplication of 360 with the number of our years, 
which correspond to one nychthemeron of his. We 
have already mentioned (p. 331) the length of the 
nychthemeron of Brahman. Now the length of a year 
of Brahman is 3,110,400,000,000 of our years {i.e. 


360 X 8,640,000,000). A hundred years of the same 
kind, reckoned in our years, are represented by the 
same number increased by two ciphers, so that you get 
in the whote ten ciphers, viz. 311,040,000,000,000. 
This space of time is a dai/ of Purusha ; therefore his 
nychthemeron is double of it, viz. 622,080,000,000,000 
of our years. 

According: to the Pulisa-Siddhdnta, the life of Brah- Pavardha- 


man is a day of Purusha. However, it has also been 
mentioned that a day of J^urusha is a pardrdhaJcalpa. 
Other Hindus say that 2'><-^'^'drdliakalpa is the day of kha, 
i.e. the point, by which they mean the first cause, on 
which all existence depends. The kalpa occupies the 
eighteenth place in the scale of the degrees of the num- 
bers (see p. 175). It is coXIq^ par drdha, which means 
the half of heaven. Now, the double of this would 
be the whole of heaven and the whole nychthemeron. 
Therefore kha is represented by the number 864, fol- 
lowed by twenty-four ciphers, this number representing 
oiir years (c/. p. 331). 

These terms must, on the whole, be rather considered 
as a philosophical means of conveying an abstract 
notion of time than as mathematical values composed 
of the various kinds of numbers, for they are derived 
from the processes of combination and dissolution, of 
procreation and destruction. 

( 334 ) 



Ghati. The Hindus are foolishly painstaking in inventing the 

most minute particles of time, but their efforts have 
not resulted in a universally adopted and uniform 
system. On the contrary, you hardly ever meet with 
two books or two men representing the subject iden- 
tically. In the first instance, the nychthemeron is 
divided into sixty minutes or ghati. We read in the 
book Srudhava by Utpala the Kashmirian : " If you 
bore in a piece of wood a cylindrical hole of twelve 
fingers' diameter and six fingers' height, it contains three 
mand water. If you bore in the bottom of this hole 
another hole as large as six plaited hairs of the hair of a 
young woman, not of an old one nor of a child, the three 
mand of water will flow out through this hole in one 
ghati. ''^ 

Cashaka. Each mluute is divided into sixty seconds, called 

cashaka or cakhaka, and also vighatikd. 

Plana. Each sccond is divided into six parts or prdna, i.e. 

Page 170. breath. The above-mentioned book, AS'?'ilr/A«rrt, explains 
t\\Q prdna in the following manner: "It is the breath 
of a sleeping person who sleeps a normal sleep, and not 
like a man who is ill, who suffers from retention of the 
urine, who is hungry, or has eaten too much, whose 
mind is occupied with some sorrow or pain ; for the 
breath of a sleeping person varies according to the 


conditions of his soul, which originate either from desire 
or fear, according to the conditions of his body, depend- 
ing upon the emptiness or fulness of his stomach, and 
according to various accidents disturbing the kind of 
Jmmor which is considered the most desirable." 

It is all the same whether we determine the pr an a 
according to this rule (one nychthemeron = 21,600 
prdna), or if we divide each gJiafi into 360 parts 
(60 X 360 = 21,600), or each degree of the sphere into 
sixty parts (360 x 60 = 21,600). 

As far as this all Hindus agree with each other in Vmadi. 
the matter, though they use different terms. So, for 
instance, Brahmagupta calls the cashaka or seconds 
vinddi, likewise Aryabhata of Kusumapura. Besides 
the latter calls the minutes nddi. Both, however, did 
not use particles of time smaller than the prdna, which 
correspond to the minutes of the sphere (60 X 360). 
For Pulisa says : " The minutes of the sphere, which are 
21,600, resemble the normal breaths of man at the time 
of the equinoxes, and when man is in perfect health. 
During one breathing of man the sphere revolves as far 
as one minute." 

Other people insert between minute and second a Ksham. 
third measure, called kshana, which is equal to one- 
fourth of a minute (or fifteen seconds). Each Icshana 
is divided into fifteen kald, each of which is equal to 
one-sixtieth of a minute, and this is the cashaka, only 
called by another name. 

Among the lower orders of these fractions of time Nimesha, 
there occur three names which are always mentioned 
in the same sequence. The largest is the nimesha, i.e. 
the time during which the eye, in the normal state of 
things, is open between two consecutive looks. The 
lara is the mean, and the truti the smallest part of 
time, the latter word meaning the cracking of the fore- 
finger against the inside of the thumb, which is with 
them a gesture expressive of astonishment or admiia- 


tion. The relation between these three measures varies 
very much. According to many of the Hindus — 

2 truti— I lava, 
2 lava= I nlmesha. 

Further, they differ as to the relation between the 
nimesha and the next higher order of fractions of time, 
for according to some the latter (MsJithd) contains 
fifteen, according to others thirty nimesha. Others, 
again, divide each of these three measures into eighths, 
so that — 

8 truti= I lava. 

8 lava — I nimesha. 

8 nimesha— i kdshthd (?). 

The latter system is used in the book Srddhava, and 
has also been adopted by S M Y{?), one of their learned 
astronomers. He makes this division still more subtle 
by adding a further measure, smaller than the truti, 
which is called ami, and eight of which are one triiti. 
Kashtha, The next higher orders, parts of time larger than the 

nimesha, are kdshthd and kald. We have said already 
(p. 3^5) that with some Hindus hald is only another 
name for cashaka, and is considered as equal to thirty 
kdshthd. Further — 

I kashthd—i^ nimesha. 
I nimesha = 2 lava. 
I lava = 2 truti. 

Others reckon thus — 

I A-aZa=rVth minute of the nychthemeron = 30 Mshthd. 
I kdshthd =T,o nimesha. 

And the further fractions such as those just men- 

Lastly, others reckon thus — 

I cashaka — 6 nimesha. 
I nimesha— T, lava. 

Here ends the tradition of Utpala. 



According to the Vdyu-Purdna — 

I muhurta = 30 kald. 
I laid = 30 kdshthd. 
I Mshflid = 15 nimesha. 

The smaller fractions are disregarded by the Vdijic 

We have no means of settling the question as to which Page 171 
of these systems is the most authentic one. Therefore 
it is the best for ns to adhere to the theory of Utpala 
and >S' M F(?), i.e. to divide all measures of time smaller 
than Q, prdna by eight — 

I prdna = 8 niniesha. 
I nimesha = 8 lava. 

I I Zai'a = 8 truti. 

I I truti = 8 ami. 

The whole system is represented in the following 
table :— 

How many times the 

The names of the mea- 

smaller one is con- 

How many of it are con- 

sures of time. 

tained in the larger 

tained in one day. 

Ghati, Nadi . 



Kshana . 



Cashaka, Viaiuli, ) 

Kala . .' \ 



Prana . 



Nimesha . 



; Lava 









The Hindus have also a popular kind of division of prahara 
the nychthemeron into eight frahara, i.e. changes of 
the watch, and in some parts of their country they 
have clepsydrae regulated according to the ghati, by 
which the times of the eight watches are determined. 
After a watch which lasts seven and a half ghati has 
elapsed, they beat the drum and blow a winding shell 



called sanhha, in Persian sped-miihra. I have seen this 
in the town of PursJmr. Pions people have bequeathed 
for these clepsydra, and for their administration, lega- 
cies and fixed incomes. 
Muhurta. Further, the day is divided into thirty mithilrta, 

but this division is not free from a certain obscurity ; 
for sometimes you think that the muhurtas have 
always the same length, since they compare them either 
with the (jhciti, and say that two gliati are one muhurta, 
or with the watches, and say that one vsatch is three and 
three-quarters muhihia. Here the muhHrtas are treated 
as if they were horce mquinodiales {i.e. so and so many 
equal parts of the nychthemeron). However, the num- 
ber of such hours of a day or of a night differs on every 
degree of latitude, and this makes us think that the 
length of a mulmirta duriug the day is different from 
its length during the night (for if four watches or fifteen 
muhurta represent a day or a night, the muhurtas 
cannot be of the same length in the day and in the 
night, except at the times of the equinoxes). 

On the other hand, the way in which the Hindus 
count the dominants of the miihurtas makes us more 
inclined to the opposite opinion, that, in fact, the 
nuthilrtas are of different length, for in the case of day 
and night they simply attribute to each of them fifteen 
dominants. Here the muhurtas are treated like the 
horoi ohliqum tem'porales (i.e. twelve equal parts of the 
day and twelve equal parts of the night, which differ 
as day and night differ). 

The latter opinion is confirmed by a calculation of 
the Hindus which enables them to find the number of 
the muhurtas (which have elapsed of the day) by 
means of the digits which the shadow of a person 
at the time measures. From the latter number you 
subtract the digits of the shadow of the person at 
noon, and the remaining number you look out in the 



middle column of the following diagram, which we have 
taken from some of their metrical compositions. The 
corresponding field of the upper or lower columns 
shows the number of muhurtas which you wanted to 

The muhurtas w hich \ 
have elapsed before V 
noon. . . .J 








How many digits the^ 
shadow in question is 1 
larger than the noon- j 
shadow . . J 

The muhurtas which "i 
have elapsed after V 
noon . . .J 







The commentator of the Siddhdnta, Pulisa, comments whetherthe 

• • Til 1 1 • 1 leiigth of a 

on the latter opinion, and blames those who m general muhtirtasa 

, ^ . variable or 

declare one muhurta to be equal to tivo glictti, saying invariable, 
that the number of the fjhati of the nychthemeron ^^^® '72- 
varies in the different parts of the year, whilst the 
number of its muliurtas does not vary. But in another 
place he contradicts himself, where he reasons about 
the measure of the viuMrta. He fixes one mvhitrta as 
equal to 720 irrdna or breaths, one breath being com- 
posed of two things : the apdna or the inhaling, and 
the irrdna or the exhaling of breath. Two other terms 
of the same meaning are nihsvdsa and arasvd'ia. How- 
ever, if one thing is mentioned, the other is tacitly 
included and understood ; as, for instance, if you speak 
of dai/s, you include the nights, meaning to express 
days and nights. Accordingly a muhurta is 360 apdna 
and ^60 prdna. 

In the same manner, when speaking of the measure 


of a gliati, he only mentions the one species of breath, 
connoting the other, for he explains it in general as 
equal to 360 breaths (instead of 180 ajxtna and 180 

If now the muhilrta is measured by hreatJis, it is 
dependent upon the ghati and the Jwrw cequinodiales as 
the gauges of its measure. But this is exactly the con- 
trary of what Palisa intends, for he argues against his 
opponents who maintain that a day has fifteen muliilrtas 
only, if he who counts them dwells on the equator or 
somewhere else, but at the time of the equinoxes. 
Pulisa observes that the ahliijit coincides with noon 
and the beginning of the second half of the day ; 
that, therefore, if the number of the mvJmrtas of the 
day varied, the number of the muliurta called ahhijit 
and denoting noon would vary too {i.e. it would 
not always be called the eighth mulmrta of the 

Vyasa says that the birth of Yudhishthira took place 
in the ivhite half, at noon, at the eighth muhilrta. If an 
opponent means to infer from this that it was the day 
of an equinox, we answer by referring him to the state- 
ment of Markandeya, viz. that the birth took place at 
full moon in the month Jyaishtha, a time of the year 
which is far distant from an equinox. 

Further, Vyasa says that the birth of Yudhishthira 
took place at the ahhijit, when the youth of the night teas 
gone, at midnight, at the eighth (niithurta) of the hlack 
half, in the month of Bhadrapada. This date, too, is 
far distant from an equinox. 
story of Vasishtha relates that Vasudeva killed Sisupala, the 

si^upaia. gQi^ Qf ^\^Q daughter of Kaiiisa, at the ahhijit. The 
Hindus tell the following story of Sisupala. He had 
been born with four hands, and one day his mother 
heard a voice from above saying, " When that person 
who will kill him touches him, his two superfluous 


hands will fall off. Thereupon they put the child to 
the bosom of each of those who were present, and when 
it came to be touched by Yasudeva, the two hands fell 
off, as had been prophesied. Now^ the aunt spoke 
to him, "Assuredly you wdll one day kill my child ;" 
whereupon Vasudeva, who was still a child, answered, 
"I shall not do that except he deserve it for some 
crime committed intentionally, and I shall not call him 
to account until his misdeeds exceed ten.'' 

Some time afterwards Yudhishthira was occupied 
with preparing a sacrifice to the fire in the presence of 
the most famous personages. He consulted A^yasa as 
to the rank of the guests present and the honours due 
to the president of such an assembly, consisting in the 
presentation of water and roses in a cup, and Vyasa 
advised him to make ATisudeva the president. In this 
assembly also Sisupala, his cousin, was present, and 
now he began to rage, maintaining that he had a better 
claim to such an honour than Yasudeva. He boasted 
much' and went even so far as to abuse the parent of 
Yasudeva. The latter called the present company to 
witness as to his bad behaviour, and let him do as he 
liked. However, when the affair lasted too long, and 
passed beyond the number of ten {innhurtas), Yasudeva 
took the cup and threw it at him, as people throw with 
the cahra, and cut off his head. This is the story of 

He who wants to prove the above-mentioned theory crit 
(like Pulisa, viz. that the imihurtas are thirty equal 
parts of the nychthemeron), will not succeed unless 
he prove that the ahliijit falls together with noon and 
with the middle of the eighth mttlmrta (so that the 
day consists of twice seven and a half equal muhurtcts, 
and likewise the night). As long as he does not prove 
this, the muhurtas differ in length as days and nights, 
though just in India only very little, and it is possible 

on Pulisa. 



Page 172 

of the Tdu- 

that in times distant from the equinoxes noon falls 
either at the beginning or at the end of the eighth 
nuihiirta, or within it. 

How little exact is the learning of the author (Pnlisa) 
who meant to prove this, is evident from the fact that 
among his arguments he produces a tradition from 
Garga to this effect, that at the cibhijit of the equator 
there is no shadow ; for, in the first instance, it is not 
true save at the two days of the equinoxes ; and, 
secondly, if it were true, it would not have anything 
to do with the subject he tries to prove (as the ques- 
tion of the different length of day and night and their 
divisions does not refer to the equator, where day and 
night always equal each other, but only to southern or 
northern latitudes of the earth). 

We represent the dominants of the single mulmrtas 
in the following table : — 

^ i 

The dominants of the Mulivirtas 

The dominants of the Muhurtas in the 

5 "2 

in the day. 


g ^ 


Siva, i.e. MahMeva. 

Eudra, i.e. Mahadeva. 


Bhujaga, i.e. the snake. 

Aja, i.e. the lord of all cloven- 
footed animals. 



Ahirbudhnya, the lord of Uttara- 



Pilshan, the lord of Revati. 



Basra, the lord of Asvini. 


Apas, i.e. the water. 

Antaka, i.e. the angel of death. 



Agni, i.e. the fire. 


Virificya, i.e. Brahman. 

Dhatri, i.e. Brahma the preserver. 


Kesvara (?), i.e. Mahadeva. 

Soma, the lord of Mrigasirsha. 



Guru, i.e. Jupiter. 


Indra, the prince. 

Hari, i.e. N^rayana. 


Nisakara, i.e. the moon. 

Ravi, i.e. the sun. 


Varuna, i.e. the lord of the 

Yama, the angel of death. 



Tvashtri, the lord of Citra. 


Bhageya {?). 

Anila,'i.e. the wind. 


Nobody in India uses the hours except the astrologers, on the 
for they speak of the dominants of the hours, and, in Hindu as- 
consequence, also of do minants of the nychthemera. The 
dominant of the nychthemeron is at the same time 
the dominant of the night, for they do not separately 
establish a dominant for the day, and the night is, 
in this connection, never mentioned. They arrange 
the order of the dominants according to the horc£ 

They call the hour liord, and this name seems to indi- 
cate that in reality they use the horce oUiquce tempo- 
rcdes ; for the Hindus call the media signorum (the 
centres of the signs of the zodiac) hord, which we Mus- 
lims call nimhahr (cf. chap. Ixxx.). The reason is this, 
that in each day and each night always six signs rise 
above the horizon. If, therefore, the hour is called by the Page 174. 
name of the centre of a sign, each day and each night has 
twelve hours, and in consequence the hours used in the 
theory of the dominants of the hours are horce ohliqum 
temjwrales, as they are used in our country and are 
inscribed on the astrolabes on account of these domi- 

This opiaion is coufirmed by the following sentence 
of Vijayanandin in the Karana-tilaJca, i.e. the first of 
the canons. After having explained the rule how to 
find the dominant of the year and of the month, he 
says : " To find the horddliipati, add the signs which have 
risen since the morning to the degree of the horoscope, 
the whole being reckoned in minutes, and divide the 
sum by 900. The quotient you get count off from the 
dominant of the nychthemeron, counting the planetary 
spheres from above to below. The dominant of a day 
you arrive at, is at the same time the dominant of the 
hour." He ought to have said, "To the quotient you 
get add one, and count off the sum from the dominant 
of the nychthemeron." If he had said, " Eeckon the 



equatorial degrees which have risen/' &c., the calcula- 
tion would have resulted in horw cequinoctiales. 

The Hindus give certain names to the horce obliqu(E, 
which we have united in the following table. We think 
they are taken from the book ^rudhava. 

Names of the 
Horas in the day. 

or unkicky. 

Their names in the 

or unlucky. 














Vairahma (?). 










Guhaniya (?). 





1 Maya. 





Damariya (?). 



Subha. . 

















j Dahariya (?). 


The most 
of all. 




Cantima (?). 


What time 
is under the 
influence of 
the serpent 



The book Vislinu-Dharma mentions, among the ncigas 
or serpents, a serpent called Ndga Kuliha. Certain por- 
tions of the hours of the planets stand under its in- 
fluence. They are unlucky, and everything which is 
eaten during them hurts and is of no use for anything. 
Sick people who treat themselves with poisonous medi- 
cines do not recover, but die and perish. During these 
times no incantation is of any avail against the bite of 
a snake, for the incantation consists in the mention of 
the Garuda, and in those inauspicious times the stork 
himself cannot help in any way, much less the mention 
of his name. 

These times are represented in the following table 



where the planetary hour is reckoned as consisting of 
150 parts. 

Tiie Dominants of 





the }{ours. 






Number of the 

150 parts of 

the hour be- 

fore the be- 

ginning of 

the time of 

Kulika . 






Number of the 

parts during 

which tlie in- 

fluence of 


Kulika lasts. 








( 346 ) 



DefiniLiouof The ncituTal montli is the period of the moon's syno- 

the lunar ^ 1 -J 

montli. dical revolution. We call it physical because it de- 
velops in the same way as all natural phenomena, 
rising out of a certain beginning like non-existence, 
increasing by degrees, and growing, standing still when 
the climax is attained, then descending, waning away 
and decreasing, till at last they return to the non- 
existence whence they came. In the same manner the 
light develops on the body of the moon, since she 
appears after the moonless nights as a crescent, then 
as a young moon (after the third night), and as full 
moon, and thereafter returns through the same stages 
to the last night, which is like non-existence, at all 
events with reference to human senses. It is well 
known to everybody why the moon continues for some 
length of time in the moonless nights, but it is not 
equally known, not even to educated people, why she 
continues some time as full moon. They must learn 
how small the body of the moon is in comparison with 
that of the sun, that in consequence the enlightened 
portion by far exceeds the dark one, and that this 
is one of the causes why the moon must necessarily 
appear as full moon for some length of time. 

Effects of That the moon has certain effects on moist substances, 

moonliglit. ,i . .i ^ ^ • i • n 

that they are apparently subject to her mtluences, that, 
for instance, increase and decrease in ebb and flow 


develop periodically and parallel with the moon's 
phases, all this is well known to the inhabitants of sea- 
shores and seafaring people. Likewise physicians are 
well aware that she affects the humorcs of sick people, 
and that the fever-days revolve parallel with the moon's 
course. Physical scholars know that the life of animals 
and plants depends upon the moon, and experimen- 
talists know that she influences marrow and brain, 
eggs and the sediments of wine in casks and jngs, that 
she excites the minds of people who sleep in full moon- 
light, and that she affects (?) linen clothes which are 
exposed to it. Peasants know how the moon acts upon 
fields of cucumbers, melons, cotton, &c., and even make 
the times for the various kinds of sowing, planting, and 
grafting, and for the coveriug of the cattle depend upon 
the course of the moon. Lastly, astronomers know that ^'^°*^ ^^^• 
meteorologic occurrences depend upon the various phases 
through which the moon passes in her revolutions. 

This is the month, and twelve of them are in tech- 
nical language called a lunar year. 

The natural year is the period of a revolution of the Soiar 
sun in the ecliptic. We call it the natural, because it 
comprehends all the stages in the process of generation 
which revolve through the four seasons of the year. 
In the course of it, the rays of the sun as passing 
through a window-glass and the shadows of the sun- 
dials reassume the same size, position, and direction in 
which, or from which, they commenced. This is the 
year, and is called the solar one, in antithesis to the 
lunar year. As the lunar month is the twelfth part of 
the lunar year, the twelfth part of the solar year is a 
solar month in theory, the calculation being based on 
the mean rotation of the sun. If, however, the calcula- 
tion is based on his varying rotation, a solar month is 
the period of his staying in one sign of the zodiac. 

These are the well-known two kinds of months and 



onimii- The Hindus call the conjunction amdvdsyd, the 

icuiation. opposition pilniwid, and the two quarters ATVH (?). 
Some of them use the lunar year with lunar months 
and days, whilst others use the lunar year but solar 
months, beginning with o degree of each zodiacal sign. 
The sun's entering a sign is called sanhrdnti. This 
luni-solar calculation is, however, only an approxima- 
tive one. If they constantly used it, they would soon 
feel induced to adopt the solar year itself and solar 
months. In using this mixed system they had only 
this advantage, that they could dispense with inter- 

Those who use lunar months begin the month with 
conjunction or new moon, and this method is the canoni- 
cal one, whilst the others begin it with the opposition or 
full moon. I have heard people say that Varahamihira 
does the latter, but I have not yet been able to ascer- 
tain this from his books. The latter method is for- 
bidden. Still it seems as if it were rather old, because 
the Veda says : "Men say the moon has become com- 
plete, and by her becoming complete also the month 
has become complete. Thus they speak because they 
do not know me nor the interpretation of me, for the 
Creator of the world commenced creating with the white 
half, not with the black half." But possibly these words 
are only a saying of men (not really a sentence taken 
from the Veda). 

The numeration of the days of the month begins with 
the new moon and the first lunar day is called BBBA, 
and again enumeration begins with full moon {i.e. they 
count twice fifteen days, beginning with new moon and 
full moon). Each two days which are equidistant from 
new moon or full moon have the same name (or num- 
ber). In them, light and darkness on the body of the 
moon are in corresponding phases of increasing and 
waning, and the hours of the rising of the moon in one 
day correspond to the hours of her setting in the other. 


For the purpose of finding these times they use the 
following calculation : — 

Multiply the elapsed lunar days of the month, if 
they are less than 15, or, in case they are more, the 
difference between them and 15, by the number of the 
ghatis of the night in question. Add 2 to the product, 
and divide the sum by 15. Then the quotient repre- 
sents the number of ghatis and minor fractions of time 
between the first night, and cither the setting of the 
moon in the night in question, one of the nights of the 
lahite half, or the rising of the moon in the night in 
question, one of the nights of the black half. 

This calculation is based on the fact that the space 
of time between the first night and the rising or setting 
of the moon in some following night of the same luna- 
tion varies by two minutes {ghatt), and that the nights 
vary, lasting either a little longer or a little shorter 
than thirty minutes. If, therefore, you count thirty 
minutes for each nychthemeron, and you divide the 
product by half the number of the minutes, you get 
two minutes for each nychthemeron. As these two 
minutes, however, agree with the difference of the 
nights, they multiplied the number of nychthemera 
by the measure of the night, i.e. the number of its 
ghatis (see above, 11. 6, 7), whilst it would have been 
more accurate to multiply by the half of the sum of 
the ghatis of the night in question and of the first night 
of the lunation. It is useless to add the two minutes. Page 177. 
for they represent the moment when the crescent of 
the moon first becomes visible, but if this moment were 
adopted as the beginning of the month, the two minutes 
would be transferred to the conjunction. 

As months are composed of days, there are as many vmions 
kinds of months as there are kinds of days. Each inonths. 
month has thirty days. We shall here use the civil day 
(Sdvana, v. chap, xxxiii.) as a standard. 

In agreement with the Hindu calculation of the re- 


volutions of sun and moon in a halpa, a lunar month 
= 29i^fff||- nyclithemera. Yon find tliis number by 
dividing the sum of the days of the kalpa by the 
number of its Innar months. The number of the lunar 
months of a kalpa represents the difference between the 
revolutions of sun and moon in it, viz. $3,433,300,000. 

A month has 30 lunar days, for this number is 
canonical, as the number of 360 is canonical for the 
number of days of a year. The solar month has 30 
solar days and 30j^;fft'f|^ civil days. 

The month of the fathers is equal to 30 of our months, 
and has SSsi-f-f.TTT civil days. 

The month of the angels is equal to 30 years, and has 
10,95714-^ civil days. 

The month of Brahman is equal to 60 halpas, and 
has 94,674,987,000,000 civil days. 

The mo7ith of Purusha is equal to 2,160,000 kalpas, 
and has 3,408,299,532,000,000,000 civil days. 

The month of Kha has 
9,497,498,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 civil days. 

By multiplying each of these months by twelve, we 
get the number of days of the corresponding year. 

The luna,r year has 354TTFfTTT civil days. 

The solar year has 365 3^^% civil days. 

The year of the fathers has 360 lunar months, or 
iO,63ixyV:TTT civil days. 

The year of the a7igels has 360 of our years, or 
i3i>493in)- civil days. 

The year of Brahman has 720 kalpas, or 
1,136,099,844,000,000 civil days. 

The year of Purusha has 25,920,000 kalpas, or 
40,899.594,384,000,000,000 civil days. 

The year of Kha has 
1 1 3, 609,984, 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 civil days. 

The latter number is mentioned by the Hindus, 

although it is written in their books that there is no 

PumshV* combination of numbers beyond the day of Purusha, for 

kinds of 


it is the first aud the last, and is without a beginning in 
the past and without *an end in the future. The other 
kinds of days, of which months and years (those of the 
fathers, the angels, and Brahman) are composed, refer 
to beings who stand under Punish a in the order of 
beings, and w^hose duration is defined by certain limits 
of time. The day of Puntsha is simply an abstraction 
of the Hindu mind to denote that which is above the 
soul (cUman), for they make no distinction between 
jmricsJia and dtman except in the ordepor sequence in 
which they enumerate them. They speak of Purusha 
in terms resembling those of the vSiifis, viz. the he is not 
the first, and is not something else. It is quite possible Page 178. 
in imagination to extend the idea of duration from the 
existing present moment towards both sides, i.e. towards 
the past which no longer exists, and towards the future 
which possibly will exist, and to measure duration ; 
and if some part of it admits of being determined by 
days, imagination also admits reduplications of it in the 
guise of months and years. In all this it is the inten- 
tion of the Hindus that we should refer the years 
invented by them to certain periods of life, beginning 
with the coming into existence, and endiug with de- 
struction and death. However, God the Creator is 
sublime beyond either, and also the simple substances 
(air, fire, earth, water) do not know coming into exist- 
ence nor destruction (in periodical returns). Therefore 
we stop with the day of Purusha, and do not think it 
necessary to use still larger periods of time. 

Things which do not rest on intrinsic necessity offer Atr.iditiou 
a wide field for difference of opinion and arbitrary theV";S-sof 
systematising, so as easily to become the source of Bearind 
numerous theories. Some of them may be developed ^'*^^'°®* 
according to a certain order and rule, whilst others are 
devoid of such. In the latter class I reckon the follow- 
ing theory, but unfortunately I have forgotten from 
what source it has come to me: "33,000 human 


years are one year of the Great Bear; 36,000 linman 
years are one year of Brahman, and 99,000 human 
years are one year of the pole." However, as regards 
the year of Brahman, we remember that Vasudeva 
speaks to Arjuna on the battlefield between the two 
ranks: "The day of Brahman is two kalpas;'' and in 
the Brahmasiddhdnta there is a tradition from Vyasa, the 
son of Parasara, and from the book Smriti, that kalpa 
is a day of Devaka, i.e. Brahman, and also a night of 
his. In consequence the there-mentioned theory is 
evidently wrong (one year of Brahman being infinitely 
longer than 36,000 years). Further, 36,000 years are 
the period of one revolution of the fixed stars in the 
ecliptic, since they pass one degree in lOO years, and 
the Great Bear belongs to them. However, in their 
traditional literature the Hindus separate the Great 
Bear from the fixed stars, and attribute to it a distance 
from the earth which differs from the real distance, 
and therefore they describe it by qualities and con- 
ditions which in reality do not belong to it. If the 
author of that theory meant by the year of the Great 
Bear one revolution of it, we do not see why it should 
revolve so much more rapidly than the other fixed 
stars (for, in that case, the diameter of its course would 
be much larger than that of the others), nor why 
it should form an exception to the laws of nature 
(according to which all fixed stars revolve at the same 
distance from the earth and in the same time) ; and 
the pole has no revolution which might be considered 
as a year of it. From all this I conclude that the 
author of the theory was a man entirely devoid of 
scientific education, and one of the foremost in the 
series of fools who simply invented those years for the 
benefit of people who worship the Great Bear and the 
pole. He had to invent a vast number of years, for 
the more outrageous it was, the more impression it 
would make. 

( 353 ) 



Mana and pramdna mean measure. The four kinds 
of measures are mentioned by Ya kiib Ibn Tavik in his 
book Com'positio Sphavriruvi, but he did not know them 
thoroughly, and, besides, the names are misspelled, if 
this is not the fault of the copyists. 
They are — 

Saiwa-mdna, i.e. the solar measure. 

Sdvana-mdna, i.e. the measure depending upon the rising (civil 

Candra-mdna, i.e. the lunar measure. 

Nakshatra-mdna , i.e. the lunar-station measure {sidereal mea- 

There are days of all four kinds of measure, days of 
an individual nature, which, when compared with other 
days, show a certain difference of measure. However, 
the number 360 is common to all of them (360 days of 
each class being a year). The civil days are used as a 
gauge to determine thereby the other days. 

As regards the saura-mdnci, it is known that the solar Measure- 
year has 365/0--0V civil days. Dividing this sum by fourdiffer- 
360, or multiplying it by 10 seconds (= -3-^ day), you years \md° 
get as the measure of the soIclt day i-y^^x.wo ^ivil day. ^^^' 

According to the Vishnu- Dhar ma, this is the time of Page 179. 
the sun's passing his hhuldi. 

The civil day, based on the sdvana-mdna, is here used 
as the unit of a day, for the purpose of measuring 
thereby the other kinds of days. 

VOL. I. Z 


The lunar day, based on the candra mdna, is called 
titlii. Dividing the lunar year by 360 or the lunar 
month by 30, you get as the measure of the lunar 
^ay sT?-h%?-A\ civil days (ivrong : read ^UiliU civil 

According to the Vishnu- Dharma, this is the time 
during which the moon is visible when she is far dis- 
tant from the sun. 

Nakshatra-mdna is the period of the moon's passing 
through her twenty-seven stations, viz. 27^i;|-g~| days. 
This number is the quotient which you get by dividing 
the days of a kalpa by the number of the revolutions 
of the moon in a kalpa. Dividing it by 27, you get as 
the time of the moon's passing one station i^^,^^ civil 
days. Multiplying the same number by 12, as we have 
done with the lunar month, we get 327Yf;^^^ civil days 
as the time of the moon's passing twelve times through 
all her stations. Dividing the first number by 30, we get 
as the measure of the sidereal day f if;^^ civil days. 

According to the Vishnu- Dharma, the sidereal month 
has only twenty-seven days, whilst the months of the 
other measures have thirty days ; and if a year is com- 
posed of these days, it has 2>^7\t,^^ days (see above). 
Evidently there is a fault in the text of Vishm- Dharma, 
as the month is reckoned too short. 
What use is The saura-vidna is used in the computation of the 
7auZ°ndna, years which compose the kal^m and the four yiLgas in 
mdna^&nd the caturijugas, of the years of the nativities, of the 
equinoxes and solstices, of the sixth parts of the year 
or the seasons, and of the difference between day and 
night in the nychthemeron. All these things are com- 
puted in solar years, months, and days. 

The candra-mdna is used in the computation of the 
eleven karana (v. chap. Ixxviii.), in the determination 
of the leap month, in the computation of the sum of 
days of the unardtra (v. chap, li.), and of new moon and 
full moon for lunar and solar eclipses (v. chap, lix.). 



In all these things the Hindus use lunar years, months, 
and days, which are called tithi. 

The sdvana-mdna is used in the calculation of the 
vara, i.e. the days of the week, of the ahargana, i.e. the 
sum of the days of an era (v. chap, li.) ; in determining 
the days of marriage and fasting (v. chap. Ixxv.) ; the 
siltaka, i.e. the days of childbed (v. chap. Ixix.) ; the 
days of the uncleanness of the houses and the vessels 
of the dead (v. chap. Ixxii.) ; the cikitsd, i.e. certain 
months and years in which Hindu medical science pre- 
scribes the taking certain medicines ; further in deter- 
mining the i^rdyascitta, i.e. the days of the expiations 
which the Brahmans make obligatory for those who 
have committed some sin, times during which they are 
obliged to fast and to besmear themselves with butter 
and dung (v. chap. Ixxi.). All these things are deter- 
mined according to sdvana-mdna. 

On the contrary, they do not determine anything 
by the naksliatra-mdna, since it is comprehended in the 

Every measure of time which any class of people 
may choose by general consent to call a day, may be 
considered as a mdna. Some such days have already 
been mentioned in a preceding chapter (v. chap, xxxiii.). 
However, the four mdnas par eo:cellence are those to 
the explanation of which we have limited the present 

( 356 ) 



uttamyana As the year is one revolution of the sun in the ecliptic, 
^shinayana. it is divided in the same way as the ecliptic. The latter 
is divided into two halves, depending upon the two 
solstitial points. Correspondingly the year is divided 
into two halves, each of which is called ay an a. 
Page i8o. When the sun leaves the point of the winter solstice, he 

begins to move towards the north pole. Therefore this 
part of the year, which is nearly one half, is referred to 
the north and called uttardyana, i.e. the period of the 
sun's marching through six zodiacal signs beginning 
with Caper. In consequence, this half of the ecliptic 
is called makarddi, i.e. having Caper as heginning. 

When the sun leaves the point of the summer solstice 
he begins to move towards the south pole : therefore 
this second half is referred to the south and called 
daksJiindya/ia, i.e. the period of the sun's marching 
through six zodiacal signs beginning with Cancer. In 
consequence, this half of the ecliptic is called Icarhddi, 
i.e. having Cancer as heginning. 

Uneducated people use only these two divisions or 
year-halves, because the matter of the two solstices is 
clear to them from the observation of their senses. 
uttarakuia Further, the ecliptic is divided into two halves, ac- 
kuia. cording to its declination from the equator, and this 

division is a more scientific one, less known to the 
people at large than the former, because it rests on 
calculation and speculation. Each half is called kula. 



That which has northern declination is called utiarakilla 
or meshddi, i.e. having A ries as beginning ; that which 
has southern declination is called dakshalmla or tuldcli, 
i.e. having Libra as beginning. 

Further, the ecliptic is by both these divisions divided The seasons. 
into four parts, and the periods during which the sun 
traverses them are called the seasons of the year — spring, 
summer, autumu, and winter. Accordingly, the zodiacal 
signs are distributed over the seasons. However, the 
Hindus do not divide the year into four, but into six 
parts, and call these six parts ritu. Each ritu com- 
prehends two solar months, i.e. the period of the sun's 
marching through two consecutive zodiacal signs. Their 
names and dominants are represented, according to the 
most widespread theory, in the following diagram. 

I have been told ttat in the region of Somanath people 
divide the year into three parts, each consistiug of four 
months, the first being varshakdla, begiuniug with the 
month Ashadha; the second, sitakala, i.e. the winter; 
and the third, ushnaMla, i.e. the summer. 


belonging to tlie Devas 

or Angels. 


The Zodiacal Signs 
of the Ritu. 

and Amphora. 

Pisces and Taurus and 
Aries. Gemini. 


Their name. 


Vasanta or j Grishma or 
Kusumakara. ; Nidagha. 

Their domi- 


Agni the Bi..e. : !-'-«- 


Scorpio and 

Virgo and 

Cancer and 

The Zodiacal Signs 
of the Ritu. 


belonging to the Pitaras 

or Fathers. 




Their names. 




Their domi- 



Page 1 5 

The domin- 
ants of tiie 
single halves 
of months. 

I am inclined to think that the Hindus divide the 
ecliptic by such an opening of the circle which divides 
the circumference of a circle into six parts, a measure 
which is equal to the radius, beginning with the two 
solstitial points, and that therefore they use sixth parts 
of the ecliptic. If this is really the case, we must not 
forget that we, too, sometimes divide the ecliptic, be- 
ginning with the two solstitial points, at other times 
beginning with the equinoctial points, and that we use 
the division of the ecliptic in twelfth parts side by 
side with that in fourth parts. 

The months are divided into halves from new moon 
to full moon, and from full moon to new moon. The 
Vishnu- Dliar ma mentions the dominants of the halves 
of the months, as we give them in the following table : — 

The Names of the 

The dominants of the 

Bright half of each 


The dominants of the 

Black half of each 



Twashtri . 


Vais'akha . 



Jyaishtha . 





Sarpa. . 





Aja ■ . 


Asvayuja . 

Asana (?) . 



Agni . 






Jiva . 





Phaiguna . 



( 359 ) 



The dav is called dimas (dimasu), in classical language Kecapituia- 
divasa, the night rdtri, and the nychthemeron ahoratra, single mea- 
The month is called mdsa and its hali paksha. The first time. 
or luhite half is called suJdapaksha, because the first 
parts of its nights have moonlight at times when people 
do not yet sleep, when the light on the moon's body 
increases and the dark portion decreases. The other 
or black half is called krishnapaksha, because the first 
parts of its nights are moonless, whilst other parts have 
moonlight, but only then when people sleep. They are 
the nights when the light on the body of the moon 
wanes, whilst the dark part increases. 

The sum of two months is a ritu, but this is only an 
approximative definition, for the month which has two 
paksha is a lunar month, whilst that one the double 
of which is a rittc is a solar month. 

Six ritu are a year of mankind, a solar year, which 
is called harh or larkh or harsh, the three sounds h, 
kh, and sJi being much confounded in the mouth of the 
Hindus (Skr. varsha). 

Three hundred and sixty years of mankind are one 
year of the angels, called dihha-harh (divya-rarsha), and 
12,000 years of the angels are unanimously reckoned as 
one caturyuga. There is a difference of opinion only 
regarding the four parts of the caiurynga and regarding 
the multiplications of it which form a manvantara and 


a kalpa. This subject will be fully explained in the 
proper place (v. chaps, xli. and xliv.). 

Two Icalpas are a day of Brahman. It is the same 
if we say two kalpas or 28 manvaniaras, for 360 days 
of Brahman are a year of Brahman, i.e. 720 kalpas or 
10,080 manvantaras. 

Further, they say that the life of Brahman is 100 of 
his years, i.e. 72,000 Icalpas or 1,008,000 manvantaras. 

In the present book we do not go beyond this limit. 
The book Vishnu-Dharma has a tradition from Mar- 
kandeya, who answers a question of Vajra in these 
words: ''Kalpa is the day of Brahman, and the same 
is a night of his. Therefore 720 kalpas are a year of 
his, and his life has lOO such years. These lOO years 
are one day of Purusha, and the same is a night of his. 
How many Brahmans, however, have already preceded 
Purusha, none knows but he who can count the sand 
of the Ganges or the drops of the rain." 

( 36i ) 



All that is devoid of order or contradicts the rules laid wantof sys- 

.-, -,. pi-11' 1* *^™ regard- 

down m the precedmor- parts of this book is repulsive ing tiie 


to our nature and disagreeable to our ear. But the measures of 
Hindus are people who mention a number of names, 
all — as they maintain — referring to the One, the First, 
or to some one behind him who is only hinted at. 
When they come to a chapter like this, they repeat the 
same names as denoting a multitude of beings, measur- 
ing out lives for them and inventing huge numbers, 
The latter is all they want ; they indulge in it most 
freely, and num^bers are patient, standing as you place 
them. Besides, there is not a single subject on which 
the Hindus themselves agree among each other, and 
this prevents us on our part adopting the use of it. On 
the contrary, they disagree on these imaginary measures 
of time to the same extent as on the divisions of the 
day which are less than a prdna (v. cbap. xxxiv.). 

The book Sritdhava by Utpala says that " a man- Page 183. 
vantara is the life of Indra the ruler, and 28 manvan- meafures^o^ 
taras are one day of Pitamaha, i.e. Brahman. His life mined by 
is 100 years, or one day of Kesava. The life of the "^"*' 
latter is 100 years, or one day of Mahadeva. The life 
of the latter is lOO years, or one day of Isvara, who is 
near to the Supreme Being. His life is lOO years, or 
one day of Sadasiva. The life of the latter is 100 
years, or one day of Virancana, the Eternal, who will 


last for ever, even when the preceding five beings 

We have already mentioned that the life of Brahman 
is as long as 72,000 hdpcis. All numbers which we 
shall here mention are halpas. 

If the life of Brahman is a day of Kesava, his year, 
consisting of three hundred and sixty days, has 
25,920,000 kalpas, and his life, 2,592,000,000 kalpas. 
The latter is i day of Mahadeva ; his life, therefore, 
93,3 1 2,000,000,000 kalpias. The latter is i day of tsvara ; 
therefore his life 3,359,232,000,000,000,000 kalpas. 
The latter is i day of Sadasiva; therefore his life 
120,932,352,000,000,000,000,000 halpas. The latter is 
one day of Viraficana, of which the pardrdliakalpa is 
only relatively a very small part (v. p. 175). 
The same Whatever maybe the nature of these calculations, 

by tratis'! apparently the day and the centennium are the elements 
out of which the whole from beginning to end has 
been constructed. Others, however, build their system 
on the small particles of the day which we have pre- 
viously mentioned (in chap, xxxiv.). In consequence, 
these people differ among themselves regarding that 
which they compose, as they differ regarding the par- 
ticles out of which they compose. We shall here give 
one system of this kind as invented by those who use 
the following metrologic system : — 

I glmti =16 Ivald. 
I kald = 30 Icdshthd. 
I kdshthd = 30 nimcsha. 
» I nimesha — 2 lava. 

I lava = 2 truti. 

The reason of this division is, as they maintain, the 
fact that the day of Siva is composed out of similar 
particles ; for the life of Brahman is one ghati of Hari, 
i.e. Vasudeva. The life of the latter is 100 years, or 
one kald of Eudra, i.e. Mahadeva ; the life of the latter 
is 100 vears, or one kdshthd of Isvara ; the life of the 


latter is 100 years, or one nimesha of Sadasiva ; the 
life of the latter is 100 years, or one lava of Sakti ; the 
life of the latter is lOO years, or one t7^uti of Siva. 

If, now, the life of Brahman is 
72,000 Tcalpas, 

the life of Narayana is 
155,5 20,000,000 kalpas ; 

the life of Rudra, 
55374j77i>20o,ooo,ooo,ooo ; 

the life of Isvara, 
5,572,562,780, 160,000,000,000,000,000 ; 

the life of Sadasiva, 
173,328,992,714,096,640,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ; 

the life of Sakti, 

The latter number represents one truti. 

If you compose a day out of it according to the above- 
mentioned system, it has 37,264,147,126,589,458,187, 
5 50,720,000,-000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kal- 
pas. The latter number is one day of Siva, whom they 
describe as the eternal one, who is exemptfrom being pro- 
created and from procreating, free from all qualities and 
attributes which may be applied to created things. The 
last-mentioned number represents fifty-six orders of 
number [i.e. units, tens, hundreds, thousands, &c. &c.) ; 
but if those dreamershad more assidiioasly studied arith- 
metic, they would not have invented such outrageous 
numbers. God takes care that their trees do not grow 
into heaven. 

( 364 ) 



The original sarhdhi is the interval between day and 
night, i.e. morning-dawn, called samdJd udaya, i.e. the 
samdhi of the rising, and evening dawn, called sanii- 
dlii astamana, i.e. the samdhi of the setting. The 
Hindus require them for a religious reason, for the 
Brahmans wash themselves during them, and also at 
noon in the midst between them for dinner, whence an 
uninitiated person might infer that there is still a third 
samdhi. However, none who knows the subject pro- 
perly will count more than two samdhis. 

The Puranas relate the following story of King Hiran- 
yakasipu, of the class of the Daitya : — 

By practising devotion for a long period, he had 
earned the claim that any prayer of his should be 
granted. He asked for eternal life, but only long life 
was granted to him, for eternity is a quality of the 
Creator alone. Not having obtained the realisation 
of this wish, he desired that his death should not be 
effected by the hand of a human being, angel, or demon, 
and that it should not take place on earth nor in heaven, 
neither in the night nor in the day. By such clauses 
he meant to avoid death, which is unavoidable by man. 
His wish was granted to him. 

This wish reminds one of the wish of the devil that 
he should be allowed to live till the day of resurrection, 


because on that day all beings would rise from death. 
However, he did not attain his object, as it was only 
conceded to him to live till the day of the well-known 
time, of which it has been said that it is the last of the 
days of trouble. 

The king had a son called Prahlada, whom he in- 
trusted to a teacher when he grew up. One day the 
king ordered him into his presence to learn what he 
was studying. Now the boy recited to him a poem, 
the meaning of which was that only A^ishnu exists, 
whilst everything else is illusion. This went much 
against the opinions of his father, who hated Vishnu, 
and therefore he ordered the boy to be intrusted to 
another master, and that he should learn to distin- 
guish a friend from an enemy. Thereupon he waited 
a certain time, and then examined him again, when the 
boy answered, " I have learned what you have ordered, 
but I do not want it, for I am in friendship alike with 
everything, not in enmity with anything." Now his 
father became angry and ordered him to be poisoned. 
The boy took the poison in the name of God and thought 
of Vishnu, aud lo ! it did not hurt him. His father 
said, "Do you know witchcraft and incantations ? " The 
boy answered, "'No, but the God who has created me 
and given me to thee watches over me." Now the 
wrath of the king increased, and he gave orders to 
throw him into the deep sea. But the sea threw him 
out again, and he returned to his j)lace. Then he was 
thrown before the king into a huge blazing fire, but it 
did not hurt him. Standing in the flame, he began to 
converse with his father on God and his power. When 
the boy by chance said that Vishnu is in every place, 
his father said, " Is he also in this column of the por- 
tico ? " The boy said, " Yes." Then his father jumped 
against the column and beat it, whereupon Narasiriiha 
came forth from it, a human figure with a lion's head, 
therefore neither a human being, nor an angel, nor a 


demon. Now the king and his people began to fight 
with Narasimha, who let them do so, for it was day- 
time. But when it was towards evening and they were 
in the samdhi or twilight, therefore neither in the day 
nor in the night, then Narasimha caught the king, 
raised him into the air, and killed him there ; therefore 
not on earth nor in heaven. The prince was taken out 
of the fire and ruled in his place. 
Samdhi Hindu astrologers require the two samdhi, because 

astrology, then some of the zodiacal signs exercise the most power- 
hira quoted, ful influence, as we shall explain hereafter in the proper 
place. They make use of them in a rather superficial 
way, simply reckoning the time of each samdhi as one 
m2ch4rta = two ghat i = 4.S minutes. However, Varaha- 
mihira, excellent astronomer as he is, always only used 
day and night, and did not allow himself to follow the 
opinion of the crowd regarding the samdhi. He ex- 
plained the samdhi as that which it really is, viz. as 
the moment when the centre of the body of the sun 
rage 185. stands exactly over the horizontal circle, and this 
moment he establishes to be the time of the greatest 
power of certain zodiacal signs. 
On the Besides the two samdhi of the natural day, astrono- 

theyear-haif mers and other people assume still other samdhis, 
binatioii""' which do not rest on a law of nature nor on observa- 

with the pre- 
cession of 
the equi- 

oilanuuS. ^ in which the sun ascends and descends (v. chap, xxxvii.), 
a samdhi of seven days before its real beginning. On 
this subject I have an idea which is certainly possible, 
and even rather likely, viz. that this theory is of 
recent origin, not of ancient date, and that it has been 
brought forward about 1300 of Alexander ( = A.D. 989), 
when the Hindus found out that the real solstice 
precedes the solstice of their calculation. For Pun- 
jala, the author of the Small Ifdnasa, says that in the 
year 854 of the Sakakala the real solstice preceded his 

tion, but simply on some hypothesis. So they attribute 
a samdhi to each ay ana, i.e. to each of the year-halves 


calculation by 6^ 50', and that this difference will in- 
crease in future by one minute every year. 

These are the words of a man who either was him- 
self a most careful practical observer, or who examined 
the observations of former astronomers which he had 
at his disposal, and thereby found out the amount of 
the annual difference. No doubt, also, other people 
have i^erceived the same or a similar difference by 
means of the calculation of the noon-shadows. There- 
fore (as this observation was already much known) 
Utpala of Kashmir has taken this theory from Punjala. 

This conjecture of mine is confirmed by the fact that 
the Hindus prefix the sariidhis of the solstices 'to each 
of the six seasons of the year, in consequence of which 
they begin already with the twenty-third degree of the 
next preceding signs. 

The Hindus assume a scohdhi, too, between the dif- 
ferent yugas and between the mawvantaras ; but as the 
bases of this theory are hypothetical, so everything else 
derived from them is hypothetical. We shall give a 
sufficient explanation of these things in the proper 

( 368 ) 



onthemea. TwELVE tlioiisand Divya-yeai's, the length of which has 
caturyuga already been explained (v. chap, xxxv.), are one catur- 

and a kalpa. -, , 77 • i . 

yuga, and looo camryugas are one kcUpa, a period at 
the beginning and end of which there is a conjunction 
of the seven planets and their apsides and nodes in o° 
of Aries. The days of the kal^pa are called the kalfci- 
almrgana, for ah means day, and argana means tlie sum. 
Since they are civil days derived from the rising of the 
sun, they are also called days of the earth, for rising 
presupposes an horizon, and an horizon is one of the 
necessary attributes of the earth. 

By the same name, kalpa-ahargana, people also call 
the sum of days of any era up to a certain date. 

Our Muslim authors call the days of the kalpa the 
days of the Siiid-hind or the days of the world, counting 
them as 1,577,916,450,000 days (sdvana or civil days), 
or 4,320,000,000 solar years, or 4,452,775,000 lunar 
years. The same sum of days converted into years of 
• 360 civil days is equal to 4,383,101,250 of them, and to 

1 2,000,000 divya-years. 

The Aditya-Purana says : " Kalpana is composed of 
kal, which means the existence of the species in the 
world, and pana, which means their destruction and 
' disappearance. The sum of this existing and perish- 

ing is a kalpa.^^ 

Brahmagupta says : " Since the planets and mankind 


ill the world came into existence at the beginning of 
the day of Brahman, and since they both perish at 
the end of it, we must adopt this day of their existence 
as a kalpa, not another period." 

In another place he says : " A thousand caiiiryuga are Page 186. 
one day of Dcvaka, i.e. Brahman, and a night of his is 
of the same length. Therefore his day is equal to 2000 

In the same way Yyasa the son of Parasara says : "He 
who believes that 1000 caturyugas are a day and 1000 
caturyugas a night, knows Brahman." 

Within the space of a kalpa 7 1 caturyugas are equal Relation be- 

-. ^ . -, -, tweeii moM- 

to I manu, i.e. manvantara, or Mana-period, and 14 rontamand 
maims are equal to i JmljM. Multiplying 71 by 14, "■^"* 
you get 994 catiirytigas as the period of 14 manirin- 
taras, and a remainder of 6 caturyugas till the end of 
the kal2)cc. 

If we, however, divide these 6 caturyugas by 15, in 
order to find the sarhdhi both at the beginning and end 
of each of the 14 manvantaras, the number of the 
samdhis being by i larger than that of the manvantaras, 
the quotient is fths. If we now insert f caturyuga 
between each two consecutive manvantaras, and add the 
same amount both at the beginning of the first and the 
end of the last manvantaras, the fraction of f disap- 
pears at the end of 1 5 manvantaras (f x 15=6). The 
fractions at the beginning and end of the JccdiJa repre- 
sent the samdhi, i.e. a common link. A Icalpa, includ- 
ing its sarhdhi, has looo ccduryugas, as we have said in 
the first part of this chapter. 

The single parts of a kcdpa stand in a constant rela- conditions 

T 1 1 • • T ,, oftbebe- 

tion to each other, one bearing witness regarding the ginning of 

. , I , . a. kalpa. 

other. For it commences with the vernal equinox, a 
Sunday, the conjunction of the planets, their apsides 
and nodes, which takes place there where there is neither 
Eevati nor Asvini, i.e. between them, at the beginning 
of the month Caitra, and in the moment of the sun's 
VOL. I. 2 a 


rising over Laiika. When there occurs an irregularity 
with one of these conditions, all the others become con- 
. fused and are no longer valid. 

We have already mentioned the number of the days 
and the years of a kalpa. Accordingly a caturyuga, as 
yoVo*^ of a M^M, has 1,577,916,450 days and 4,320,000 
years. The numbers show the relation between a lcal2m 
and a caturyuga, and show further how to determine 
the one by the other. 

All we have said in this chapter rests on the theory 

of Brahmagupta and on the arguments by which he 

supports it. 

Theories of Aryabhata the elder and Pulisa compose the maiivan- 

th/eideV, twra from ^2 caturyugas, and the kalpa from 14 man- 

iryabiiata vantccras, without inserting anywhere a samclhi. There- 

the younger. ^^^^^ according to tliem, a kalpa has 1008 caturyuga s ; 

further, 1 2, ogo, 000 divy a years, or 4, 3 54, 560,000 human 


According to Pulisa, a caturyuga has 1,577,917,800 
civil days. According to him, therefore, the sum of the 
days of a halpa would be 1,590,541, 142,400. These are 
the numbers which he uses in his book. 

I have not been able to find anything of the books 
of Aryabhata. All I know of him I know through 
the quotations from him given by Brahmagupta. The 
latter says in a treatise called Critical Research on the 
Basis of the Canons, that according to Aryabhata the 
sum of the days of a caturyuga is 1,577,917,500, i.e. 
300 days less than according to Pulisa. Therefore Arya- 
bhata would give to a ka^xc 1,590,540,840,000 days. 

According to Aryabhata and Pulisa, the kalpa and 
caturyuga begin with midnight which follows after the 
day the beginning of which is the beginning of the 
kalpa, according to Brahmagupta. 

Aryabhata of Kusumapura, who belongs to the school 

of the elder Aryabhata, says in a small book of his on 

Page 187. Al-nff (?), that " 1008 caturyugas are one day of Brah- 


man. The first half of 504 caturyugas is called utsar- 
pini, during which the sun is ascending, and the second 
half is called arasarpini, during which the sun is de- 
scending. The midst of this period is called saw a, i.e. 
equality, for it is the midst of the day, and the two 
ends are called chtrtama (?)." 

This is so far correct, as the comparison between day 
and kaJpa goes, but the remark about the sun's ascend- 
ing and descending is not correct. If he meant the 
sun who makes our day, it was his duty to explain of 
what kind that ascending and descending of the sun is ; 
but if he meant a sun who specially belongs to the day 
of Brahman, it was his duty to show or to describe him 
to us. I almost think that the author meant by these 
two expressions the progressive, increasing develop- 
ment of things during the first half of this period, and 
the retrograde, decreasing development in the second 

( 372 ) 




The single The autlior of the Vislinu-Dlwrma says : '' Twelve him- 
Yaturyuga dred cUvya years are one yuga, called tishya. The double 
^vishnu-^^^ of it is a dvdpara, the triple a tretd, the quadruple a 
Brahma-''"'^ /jriYr^, and all iowvyugas together are one caturyuga, i.e. 
the four yugas or sums. 

" Seventy-one caturyitgas are one manvantara, and 
14 manvantaras, together with a samdhi of the duration 
of one kritayuga between each two of them, are one 
kcdpa. Two kcdpas are a nychthemeron of Brahmau, 
and his life is a hundred years, or one day of Purusha, 
the first man, of whom neither beginning nor end is 

This is what Varuna, the lord of the water, communi- 
cated to Rama, the son of Dasaratha, in primeval times, 
since he knew these things thoroughly. The same 
information has also been given by Bhargava, i.e. 
Markandeya, who had such a perfect knowledge of time 
that he easily mastered every number. He is to the 
Hindus like the angel of death, who kills them with 
his seat, being aprati-dhrishya (irresistible). 

Brahmagupta says : " The book Smriti mentions that 
4000 devaka years are one kritayuga, but together with 
a samdhi of 400 years and a samdhydmsa of 400 years, 
a kritayuga has 4800 devaka years. 

''Three thousandyears are one tretdyuga, but together 



with a samdJii and a samdhydmsa, each of 300 years, a 
tretdyuga has 3600 years. 

"Two thousand years are a dvdpara, but together 
with a sarhdhi and a samdhydmsa, each of 200 years, 
a dixipara has 2400 years. 

"A thousand years are one kali, but together with a 
sarhdhi and a samdhychhsa, each of 1 00 years, a kali- 
yuga has 1 200 years." 

This is what Brahmagupta quotes from the book 

" Divya years are changed into human years by being d 
multiplied by 360. Accordingly the fonr yugas have yagZ 
the following sums of human years : — 

uration of 
the single 

A hritayuga has 1,440,000 years, 


14^1,000 ,, 
144,000 ., 


Sum total 

A tretdyuga has 

1,728,000 years = 

1,080,000 years, 
108,000 ,, 
108,000 ,, 

:one hritayuga. 


Sum total 

A dvdpara has 

1,296,000 years = 

720,000 years, 
72,000 „ 
72,000 ,, 

= one tretdyuga. 


Sum total 

A kali has 


864,000 years = 

360,000 years, 
36,000 ,, 
36,000 „ 

- one dvdpara. 


Sum total 

432,000 years: 

= one hdlyuga. 


"The sum of the ]:rita and tretd is 3,024,000 years, 
and the sum of the hrila. tretd, and dvapara is 
3,888,000 years." 

Further, Brahmaofupta says that " Aryabhata con- Aryabhata 

' IP f ' aiidPaulisa 

siders the four iiugas as the four equal parts of a ccdur- quoted by 

. . Brahma- 

yuga. Thus he differs from the doctrine of the book gnpta. 
Smriti, just mentioned, and he who differs from us is an 


opponent." On the other hand, Brahmagiipta praises 
Paulisa for what he does, since he does not differ from 
the book Smriti ; for he subtracts 1200 from the 
4800 years of the hritayuga, and diminishes the re- 
mainder still more and more, so as to get yugas which 
correspond with those of the Smriti, but yugas, without 
sarhdJii and sariidhydmsa. As regards the Greeks, we 
may notice that they have nothing like the tradition 
of the Smriti, for they do not measure time by yugas, 
manvantaras, or kalpas. 

So far the quotation from Brahmagupta. 
As is well known, there is no difference of opinion 
on the sum of the years of a complete caturyuga. There- 
fore, according to Aryabhata, the kaliyuga has 3000 divya 
years or 1,080,000 human years. Each two yugas has 
6000 divya years or 2,160,000 human years. Each 
three yugas has 9000 divya years or 3,240,000 human 

The rule of There is a tradition that Paulisa in his Siddhdnta 
specifies various new rules for the computation of these 
numbers, some of which may be accepted, whilst others 
are to be rejected. So in the rule for the computation 
of the yugas he puts 48 as the basis and subtracts one- 
fourth of it, so as to get 36. Then he again subtracts 
12, for this number is his basis of subtraction, so as to 
get 24, and subtracting the same number a third time, 
he gets 12. These 12 he multiplies by lOO, and the 
product represents the number of divya years of the 

Criticism If he had made the number 60 the basis, for most 

things may be determined by it, and had made one-fifth 
of it the basis of subtraction, or if he had subtracted 
from 60 consecutive fractions of the remaining number, 
first i = 12, from the remainder J = 12, from the re- 
mainder I = 12, and from the remainder J = 12, he 
would have obtained the same result which he has found 
by his method (60-^ = 48, --4 = 36,- ^ = 24, - J= 12). 




It is possible that Panlisa simply mentions this method 
as one among others, and that it is not that one in par- 
ticular which he himself adopted. A translation of his 
whole work into Arabic has not hitherto yet been under- 
taken, because in his mathematical problems there is 
an evident religious and theological tendency. 

Pulisa deviates from the rule which he himself gives Puiisa cai- 

\. dilates how 

when he wants to compute how many of our years have much of the 
elapsed of the life of Brahman before the present kalpa. man has' 
Up to the time of his writing, eight years five months foVethepre- 
and four days of a new Jcalpa had elapsed. He counts 
6068 kalpas. As, according to him, a hdjm has 1008 
caturyugas, he multiplies this number by 1008 and gets 
6,1 16,544 caturyuijas. These he changes into yugas by 
multiplying them by 4, and he gets 24,466,176 yiigas. 
As a yuga, according to him, has 1,080,000 years, he 
multiplies the number of yugas by 1,080,000, and gets Page 189. 
as the product 26,423,470,080,000, i.e. the number of 
years which have elapsed of the life of Brahman before 
the present halpa. 

Perhaps it will seem strano^e to the followers of Criticisms 

^ c5 on this cal- 

Brahmagupta that he (Pulisa) has not changed the cuiation. 
catirnjugas into exact yugas, but simply changed them 
into fourth parts (by dividing them by 4), and mul- 
tiplied these fourth parts by the number of years of a 
single fourth part. 

Now, we do not ask him what is the use of repre- 
senting the caturyugas as fourth parts, inasmuch as 
they have no fraction which, in this manner, must be 
reduced to wholes. The multiplication of the whole 
caturyugas by the years of one complete caturyuga, i.e. 
4,320,000, would have been sufficiently lengthy. We, 
however, say that he would be correct in doing so if he 
had not been influenced by the wish of bringing the 
elapsed years of the present Irdpa into relation with the 
last-mentioned number, and multiplied the complete 
elapsed manvantaras by 72 in agreement with his 



ta's harsh 
on Ar^-a- 

lengths of 
the solar 

theory ; further, if he had not multiplied the product 
by the years of a caturyuga, which gives the product of 
1,866,240,000 years, and, moreover, had not multiplied 
the number of the complete caturyugas which have 
elapsed of the current manvantara by the years of a 
single caturijuga, whioh gives the product of 1 16,640,000 
years. Of the current caturyuga there have elapsed 
three yugas, i.e. according to him, 3,240,000 years. The 
latter number represents three-fourths of the years of a 
caturyuga. He uses the same number when comj^uting 
the week-day of a date by means of the number of the 
days of the here-mentioned number of years. If he 
believed in the above-mentioned rule, he would use it 
where it is required, and he would reckon the three 
yugas as nine-tenths of a caturyuga. 

Now, it is evident that that which Brahmagupta re- 
lates on his authority, and with which he himself agrees, 
is entirely unfounded ; but he is blind to this from sheer 
hatred of Aryabhata, whom he abuses excessively. And 
in this respect Aryabhata and Pulisa are the same to 
him. I take for witness the passage of Brahmagupta 
where he says that Aryabhata has subtracted something 
from the cycles of the Caput Draconis and of the aims 
of the moon, and thereby rendered confused the com- 
putation of the eclipse. He is rude enough to compare 
Aryabhata to a worm which, eating the wood, by chance 
describes certain characters in it, without understanding 
them and without intending to draw them. " He, how- 
ever, who knows these things thoroughly stands oppo- 
site to Aryabhata, Srishena, and Vishnucandra like the 
lion against gazelles. They are not capable of letting 
him see their faces." In such offensive terms he attacks 
Aryabhata and maltreats him. 

We have already mentioned (v. chap, xli.) how many 
civil days (sdvana) a caturyuga has according to the 
three scholars. Pulisa gives it 1350 days more than 
Brahmagupta, but the number of years of a caturyuga 


is the same according to both. Therefore, evidently 
Piilisa gives the solar year more days than Brahraa- 
gnpta. To judge from the report of Brahmagiipta, 
Aryabhata gives a caturynga 300 days less than Pulisa, 
and 1050 more than Brahmagnpta. Accordingly, Arya- 
bhata must reckon the solar year longer than Brahma- 
gnpta and shorter than Piilisa. 

( 378 ) 



The ancient Greeks held regarding the earth various 
opinions, of which we shall relate one for the sake of 
an example. 
On natural The disastors which from time to time befal the earth, 


both from above and from below, differ in quality and 
Page 190. quantity. Frequently it has experienced one so in- 
commensurable in quality or in quantity, or in both 
together, that there was no remedy against it, and that 
no flight or caution was of any avail. The catastrophe 
comes on like a deluge or an earthquake, bringing 
destruction either by the breaking in of the surface, 
or by drowning with water which breaks forth, or by 
burning with hot stones and ashes that are thrown 
out, by thunderstorms, by landslips, and typhoons ; fur- 
ther, by contagious and other diseases, by pestilence, 
and more of the like. Thereby a large region is stripped 
of its inhabitants ; but when after a while, after the 
disaster and its consequences have passed away, the 
country begins to recover and to show new signs of life, 
then different people flock there together like wild 
animals, who formerly were dwelling in hiding-holes 
and on the tops of the mountains. They become 
civilised by assisting each other against common foes, 
wild beasts or men, and furthering each other in the 
hope for a life in safety and joy. Thus they increase 


to great numbers ; but then ambition, circling round 
them with the wings of wrath and envy, begins to dis- 
turb the serene bliss of their life. 

Sometimes a nation of such a kind derives its pedi- 
gree from a person who first settled in the place or 
distinguished himself by something or other, so that he 
alone continues to live in the recollection of the suc- 
ceeding generations, whilst all others beside him are 
forgotten. Plato mentions in the Book of Laws Zeus, i.e. 
Jupiter, as the forefather of the Greeks, and to Zeus is Pedigree of 
traced back the pedigree of Hippocrates, which is men- crates. 
tioned in the last chapters added at the end of the book. 
We must, however, observe that the pedigree contains 
only very few generations, not more than fourteen. It is 
the following : — Hippokrates — Gnosidikos — Nebros — 
Sostratos — Theodoros — Kleomyttades — Krisamis — 
Dardanas — Sostratos — \j^^^y (?) — Hippolochos — Po- 
daleirios — Machaon — Asclepios — Apollo — Zeus — Kro- 
nos, i.e. Saturn. 

The Hindus have similar traditions regarding the Hindu 

_, „ 1 1 • • p notions 

Caturyuga, tor according to them, at the beginning 01 regarding 

11.. p^rr • T 1 • tlie four 

it, I.e. at the begmningoi Kritayuga, there was happiness ages or 
and safety, fertility and abundance, health and force, 
ample knowledge and a great number of Brahmans. 
The good is complete in this age, like four-fouiths of a 
whole, and life lasted 4000 years alike for all beings 
during this whole space of time. 

Thereupon things began to decrease and to be mixed 
with opposite elements to such a degree, that at the 
beginning of Tretayuga the good was thrice as much as 
the invading bad, and that bliss was three-quarters of 
the whole. There were a greater number of Kshat- 
riyas than of Brahmans, and life had the same length 
as in the preceding age. So it is represented by the 
Vishw-Dliarma, whilst analogy requires that it should 
be shorter by the same amount than bliss is smaller, i.e. 
by one-fourth. In this age, when offering to the fire, 


they begin to kill animals and to tear off plants, prac- 
tices which before were unknown. 

Thus the evil increases till, at the beginning of Dva- 
para, evil and good exist in equal proportions, and like- 
wise bliss and misfortune. The climates begin to differ, 
there is much killing going on, and the religions become 
different. Life becomes shorter, and lasts only 400 
years, according to the Vishnu- Dhar ma. At the begin- 
ning of Tishya, i.e. Kaliyuga, evil is thrice as much as 
the remaining good. 

The Hindus have several well-known traditions of 
events which are said to have occurred in the Treta and 
Dvapara yugas, e.g. the story of Rama, who killed Ha- 
vana ; that of Parasurama the Brahman, who killed every 
Kshatriya he laid hold upon, revenging on them the 
death of his father. They think that he lives in heaven, 
that he has already twenty-one times appeared on earth, 
and that he will again appear. Further, the story of 
the war of the children of Pandu with those of Kuru. 

Tn the Kaliyuga evil increases, till at last it results 
in the destruction of all good. At that time the inhabi- 
tants of the earth perish, and a new race rises out of 
those who are scattered through the mountains and hide 
themselves in caves, uniting for the purpose of worship- 
ping and flying from the horrid, demoniac human race. 
Therefore this age is called Krilayuga, which means 
" Being ready for going away after having finished the 

In the story of Saunaka which Venus received from 
Brahman, God speaks to him in the following words : 
"When the Kaliyuga comes, I send Buddhodana, the 
son of Suddhodana the pious, to spread the good in the 
creation. But then the MuJiar/imira, i.e. the red-wear- 
ing ones, who derive their origin from him, will change 
everything that he has brought, and the dignity of the 
Brahmans will be gone to such a degree that a Sudra, 
their servant, will be impudent towards them, and that 


a Siidra and Candala will share with them the presents 
and offerings. Men will entirely be occupied with 
gathering wealth by crimes, with hoarding up, not re- 
fraining from committiDg horrid and sinful crimes. All 
this will result in a rebellion of the small ones against 
the great ones, of the children against their parents, 
of the servants against their masters. The castes will 
be in uproar against each other, the genealogies will 
become confused, the four castes will be abolished, and 
there will be many religions and sects. Many books 
will be composed, and the communities which formerly 
were united will on account of them be dissolved into 
single individuals. The temples will be destroyed and 
the schools will lie waste. Justice will be gone, and 
the kings will not know anything but compression and 
spoliation, robbing and destroying, as if they wanted 
to devour the people, foolishly indulging in far-reaching 
hopes, and not considering how short life is in com- 
parison with the sins (for which they have to atone). 
The more the mind of people is depraved, th,e more will 
pestilential diseases be prevalent. Lastly, people main- 
tain that most of the astrological rules obtained in that 
age are void and false. 

These ideas have been adopted by Mani, for he says : saying of 
" Know ye that the affairs of the world have been 
changed and altered ; also priesthood has been changed 
since the o-<^atpat of heaven, i.e. the spheres, have been 
changed, and the priest can no longer acquire such a 
knowledge of the stars in the circle of a sphere as their 
fathers were able to acquire. They lead mankind astray 
by fraud. What they prophesy may by chance happen, 
but frequently it does not happen." 

The description of these things in the Vishnu-Dharma Description 
is much more copious than we have given it. People taj-uga " 
will be ignorant of what is reward and punishment ; ^vishml-^ 
they will deny that the angels have absolute know- -^ '"'*'""• 
ledge. Their lives will be of different length, and none 


of them will know how long it is. The one will die as 
an embryo, the other as a baby or child. The pious 
will be torn away and will not have a long life, but 
he who does evil and denies religion will live longer. 
Siidras will be kings, and will be like rapacious wolves, 
robbing the others of all that pleases them. The doings 
of the Brahmans will be of the same kind, but the 
majority will be Sudras and brigands. The laws of the 
Brahmans will be abolished. People will point with 
their fingers at those who worry themselves with the 
practice of frugality and poverty as a curiosity, will 
despise them, and will wonder at a man worshipping 
Vishnu ; for all of them have become of the same 
(wicked) character. Therefore any wish will soon be 
Page 192. granted, little merit receive great reward, and honour 
and dignity be obtained by little worship and service. 

But finally, at the end of the y^fja, when the evil 
will have reached its highest pitch, there will come for- 
ward Garga, the son of J-S-V (?) the Brahman, i.e. Kali, 
after whom this yuga is called, gifted with an irresis- 
tible force, and more skilled in the use of any weapon 
than any other. Then he draws his sword to make 
good all that has become bad ; he cleans the surface of 
the earth of the impurity of people and clears the earth 
of them. He collects the pure and pious ones for the 
purpose of procreation. Then the Kritaynga lies far 
behind them, and the time and the world return to 
purity, and to absolute good and to bliss. 

This is the nature of the yugas as they circle round 

through the Caturyuga. 

The origin The book Carccka, as quoted by 'All Ibn Zain of 

according to Tabaristan, says: "In primeval times the earth was 

caraka. always fertile and healthy, and the elements or malia- 

hhuta were equally mixed. Men lived with each other 

in harmony and love, without any lust and ambition, 

hatred and envy, without anything that makes soul 

and body ill. But then came envy, and lust followed. 

from Ara- 


Driven by lust, they strove to hoard up, which was dif- 
ficult to some, easy to others. All kinds of thoughts, 
labours, and cares followed, and resulted in war, deceit, 
and lying. The hearts of men were hardened, the 
natures were altered and became exposed to diseases, 
which seized hold of men and made them neglect the 
worship of God and the furtherance of science. Igno- 
rance became deeply rooted, and the calamity became 
great. Then the pious met before their anchorite 
Krisa (?) the son of Atreya, aud deliberated ; whereupon 
the sage ascended the mountain and threw himself on 
the earth. Thereafter God taught him the science of 

All this much resembles the traditions of the Greeks, Quotat 
which we have related (in another place). For Aratus 
says in his $ati'd/j,€i'a, and in his intimations referring 
to the seventh zodiacal sign : "Look under the feet of 
the Herdsman, i.e. Al'aivivd, among the northern figures, 
and you see the Virgin coming with a blooming ear of 
corn in her hand, i.e. Alsimdk Ardzal. She belongs 
either to the star-race, which are said to be the fore- 
fathers of the ancient stars, or she was j^rocreated by 
another race which we do not know. People say that 
in primeval times she lived among mankind, but only 
among women, not visible to men, being called Justice. 
She used to unite the aged men and those who stood 
in the market-places and in the streets, and exhorted 
them with a loud voice to adhere to the truth. She 
presented mankind with innumerable wealth and be- 
stowed rights upon them. At that time the earth was 
called golden. None of its inhabitants knew pernicious 
hypocrisy in deed or word, and there was no objection- 
able schism among them. They lived a quiet life, and 
did not yet navigate the sea in ships. The cows afforded 
the necessary sustenance. 

"Afterwards, when the golden race had expired and 
the silver race come on, Virgo mixed with them, but 

A scholion 
on Aratus. 


without being bappy, and concealed herself in the 
mountains, having no longer intercourse with the women 
as formerly. Then she went to the large towns, warned 
their inhabitants, scolded them for their evil doings, 
and blamed them for ruining the race which the 
golden fcUhers had left behind. She foretold them 
that there would come a race still worse than they, 
and that wars, bloodshed, and other great disasters 
would follow. 

" After having finished, she disappeared into the moun- 
tains till the silver race expired and a bronze race came 
up. People invented the sword, the doer of evil ; they 
tasted of the meat of cows, the first who did it. By all 
this their neighbourhood became odious to Justice, and 
she flew away to the sphere." 

The commentator of the book of Aratus says : " This 
Virgin is the daughter of Zeus. She spoke to the 
people on the public places and streets, and at that 
time they were obedient to their rulers, not knowing 
the bad nor discord. Without any altercation or envy 
they lived from agriculture, and did not travel on sea 
for the sake of commerce nor for the lust of plunder. 
Their nature was as pure as gold. 

" But when they gave up these manners and no 
longer adhered to truth, Justice no longer had inter- 
course with them, but she observed them, dwelling in 
the mountains. When, however, she came to their 
meetings, though unwillingly, she threatened them, for 
they listened in silence to her words, and therefore she 
no longer appeared to those who called her, as she had 
formerly done. 

"When, then, after the silver race, the bronze race 
came up, when wars followed each other and the evil 
spread in the world, she started off, for she wanted on 
no account to stay with them, and hated them, and went 
towards the sphere. 

"There are many traditions regarding this Justice, 


According to some, she is Demeter, because she lias the 
ear of corn ; according to others, she is Tvx^?." 

This is what Aratus says. 

The following occurs in the third book of the Laws Quotation 

from the 
01 1 latO : Laws of 

" The Athenian said : ' There have been deluges, dis- 
eases, disasters on earth, from which none has been 
saved but herdsmen and mountaineers, as the remnants 
of a race not practised in deceit and in the love of 

" The Kuossian said : ' At the beginning men loved 
each other sincerely, feeling lonely in the desert of the 
world, and because the Avorld had sufficient room for 
all of them, and did not compel them to any exertion. 
There was no poverty among them, no possession, no 
contract. There was no greed among them, and neither 
silver nor gold. There were no rich people among 
them and no poor. If we found any of their books, 
they would afford us numerous proofs for all this.' " 

VOL. I. 2 B 


( 386 ) 



The single As 72,ooo Aulpas are reckoned as the life of Brahman, 
ras, their the manvantcira, i.e. period of Mann, is reckoned as the 
the children life of Indra, whose rule ends with the end of the 
period. His post is occupied by another Indra, who 
then rules the world in the new mani-antara. Brahma- 
gLipta says : " If a man maintains that there is no samdhi 
between two manvantaras, and reckons each manvan- 
tcira as 71 cahiryiigas, he will find that the kalpa is too 
short by six catiiryngas, and the minus below lOOO (i.e. 
in 994) is not better than the j;/?ds above lOOO (i.e. in 
1008, according to Aryabhata). Both numbers, how- 
ever, differ from the book Smriti." 

Further he says : "Aryabhata mentions in two books 
of his, the one of which is called Dasagitikd, the other 
Arydstasata, that each manvantara is equal to 72 catiir- 
yngas. Accordingly he reckons a Izalpa at 1008 catur- 
yngas(i^ X 72)." 

In the book Vishnu-Dharma Markandeya gives to 
Vajra the following answer : " Purusha is the lord of 
Page 194. the universe ; the lord of the kalim is Brahman, the 
lord of the world ; but the lord of the manvantara is 
Manu. There are fourteen Manus, from whom the 
kings of the earth, ruling at the beginning of each 
manvantara, descended." 

We have united their names in the following table : — 




^ ^^ 

CS^ ^ 





"15 0^ 


c^ -^ 






ren of Manu, 
ed at the beg 
ccording to t 
















i ^ 


of the child 

irth who rul 

\c\\ period, a 



3 <-. rf 








g 1 

s5 > 



e Names 

of thee 

of e 









II i 



g 20 











?Q Ph 





P Q 


?H ""I 

'S 2 -• 





H ■ 


a he 





2 i 

% 1 







1 i 

2- £ 


cir Names taken 
m other Sources, 


1 1 






1 1 

g3 «? 






S g 

Si s^ 





m m 








ssaqj, p^ 







1 1 
h 1 





3 "^ 









1 ^ 

1 ^ 

CC 02 



K Q 






P P^ 




2 C3 







a sitcL, 


«S g.2 

> t> 




5 1 
1 1 









p^ p^ 


-u^Itt aq; JO 

M C^ 



Ln VO 






l-H l-C 


aoqiun^ oqX 


Page 195. The difference which the reader perceives in the enu- 

tion oT^^" meration of the future manvaiitaras beyond the seventh 
p'urSavQ- <^^^' arises, as I think, from the same cause whence 
^manmnui-^ the difference in the names of the Dvipas is derived 
ras. ^y pp_ 235^ 236), viz. from the fact that the people care 

more for the names than for the order in which they 
are handed down to posterity. We may here rely on 
the tradition of the Vishnu- Fur dna, for in this book 
their number, their names and descriptions, are given 
in such a way that renders it necessary to us to con- 
sider also the order in which it gives them as trust- 
worthy. But we have refrained from communicating 
these things in this jolace, since they offer only very 
little use. 

The same book relates that King Maitreya, a Ksha- 
triya, asked Parasara, the father of Vyasa, about the 
past and the future manvaiitaras. Thereupon the latter 
mentions the name by which each Manu is known, the 
same names which our table exhibits. According to 
the same book, the children of each Manu will rule the 
earth, and it mentions the first of them, the names of 
whom we have given in the table. According to the 
same source, the Manus of the second, third, fourth, 
and fifth manvantaras will be of the race of Priyavrata, 
an anchorite, who stood in such favour with Vishnu, 
that he honoured his children by raising them to this 

( 389 ) 



The Great Bear is in the Indian language called Sapfar- a tradition 
shay as, i.e. tlic Seven Rishis, They are said to have been Arundhati, 
anchorites who nourished themselves only with what it vSirhtha. 
is allowable to eat, and with them there was a pious 
woman, Al-suhd (Ursa Major, star 8o by (). They 
plucked off the stalks of the lotus from the ponds to eat 
of them. Meanwhile came The Laiv (Dharma ?) and 
concealed her from them. Every one of them felt 
ashamed of the other, and they swore oaths which were 
approved of by Dharma. In order to honour them, 
Dharma raised them to that place where they are now 
seen {sic). 

We have already mentioned that the books of the Hin- Quotation 
dus are composed in metres, and therefore the authors hamihira? 
indulge in comparisons and epitheta ornaniia, such as 
are admired by their countrymen. Of the same kind 
is a description of the Great Bear in the Sariihitd of 
Varahamihira, where it occurs before the astrological 
prognostics derived from this constellation. We give 
the passage according to our translation : ^ — 

" The northern region is adorned with these stars, as 
a beautiful woman is adorned with a collar of pearls 
strung together, and a necklace of white lotus flowers, 
a handsomely arranged one. Thus adorned, they are 
like maidens who dance and revolve round the pole as 
the pole orders them. And I say, on the authority of 

^ Samhitd, chap. xiii. v. i-6. 

oil Gar 


Garga, the ancient, the primeval one, that the Great 
Bear stood in Magha, the tenth lunar station, when 
Yudhishthira ruled the earth, and the Sakakala was 
2526 years after this. The Great Bear remains in each 
lunar station 600 years, and it rises in the north-east. 
He (of the Seven Rishis) who then rules the east is 
Marici ; west of him is Vasishtha, then Aiigiras, Atri, 
Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and near Vasishtha there is a 
chaste woman called Arundhati." 

As these names are sometimes confounded with each 
other, we shall try to identify them with the corre- 
sponding stars in the Great Bear : — 

Marici is the 27th star of this constellation. 
Vasishtha ,, 26th ,, ,, 

V iVSlSlll IJO. 


, 25th 


, 1 8th 


, 1 6th 


, 17th 


, 19th 

Criticisms These stars occupy in our time, i.e. in the 952nd year 

of the SakakTda, the space between i^° of Leo and ii\° 
of Spica (Virgo). According to the peculiar motion of the 
fixed stars, as we know it, the sams stars occupied at 
the time of Yudhishthira the space between 8f ° Gemini 
and 20f ^ of Cancer. 
Page 196,, According to the motion of the fixed stars, as adopted 

by the ancient astronomers and Ptolemy, these stars 
occupied at that time the space between 26 J° of Gemini 
and 8f ° of Leo, and the here-mentioned lunar station 
(Magha) occupied the space between 0-800 minutes 
in Leo. 

Therefore it would be much more suitable in the 
present time to represent the Seven Rishis as standing 
in Maghfi than in the time of Yudhishthira. And if 
the Hindus identify Magha with the Heart of the Lion, 
we can only say that this constellation at that time 
stood in the first degrees of Cancer. 


The words of Garga are without any foundation ; they 
only show how little he knew of that which every 
one must know who wants to fix the places of the 
stars, either by eyesight or by means of astronomical 
observation on certain degrees of the signs of the 

I have read in^the almanacs for the year 951 of the Note from a 
Sakakala which came from Kashmir the statement almanac. 
that the Seven Rishis stand since seventy-seven years 
in the lunar station Anuradha. This station occupies 
the space between 3^^° and the end of i6f ° of Scorpio. 
However, the Seven Rishis precede this place by about 
a whole zodiacal sign and 20 degrees, i.e. by if signs 
(v. p. 390). But what man would be able to learn all 
the different theories of the Hindus, if he does not dwell 
among them ! 

Let us now first suppose that Garga is right, that he Examina- 
has not stated the precise place in Magha which the statements 
Seven Rishis occupy, and let us suppose that this place thl^'posltfon 
was 0° of Magha, which would correspond to 0° of Leo Bean 
for our time. Further, between the time of Yudhish- 
thira and the present year, i.e. the year 1340 of Alex- 
ander, there is an interval of 3479 years. And lastly, 
let us suppose that Varahamihira is right in saying that 
the Seven Rishis dwell 600 years in each lunar station. 
Accordingly, they ought in the present year to stand in 
17° 18' of Libra, which is identical with 10° 38' of Svati. 
However, if we suppose that they stood in the midst of 
Magha (not in the beginning), they ought at present 
to stand in 3° 58' of Visakha. And if we suppose that 
they stood m the end of Magha, they ought at present 
to stand in 10° 38' of Visakha. 

Hence it is evident that the statement of the Kash- 
mirian calendar does not agree with the statement in the 
Samhitd. Likewise, if we adopt the rule of the said 
calendar regarding the precession of the equinoxes, and 
reckon with this measure backward, we do by no means 



Rule of the 
to find the 
position of 
the Great 
Bear at any 

arrive at Magba as the lunar station in which the Seven 
Rishis stood in the time of Yudhishthira. 

Hitherto we used to think that in our time the revo- 
lution of the fixed stars is more rapid than in former 
times, and we tried to account for this by peculiarities 
of the shape of the celestial sphere. According to us, 
they move one degree in 66 solar j^ears. Therefore 
Varahamihira highly astonishes us, for, according to 
him, the rate of this motion would be one degree in 
forty-five years, i.e. much more rapid than at present, 
whilst his time precedes ours only by 525 years. 

The author of the canon Karanasdra gives the fol- 
lowing rule for the computation of the motion of the 
Great Bear, and of the place which, at any given time, 
it occupies : — 

'•' Subtract 821 from the Sakakala. The remainder 
is the hasis, i.e. the number of years above 4000 which 
have elapsed since the beginning of the Kaliyuga. 

"Multiply the basis by 47, and add 68,000 to the 
product. Divide the sum by 10,000. The quotient re- 
presents the zodiacal signs and fractions of them, i.e. 
the position of the Great Bear which was sought." 

The addition of 68,000, prescribed in this rule, must 
be the original position of the Great Bear at the be- 
ginning of the basis, multiplied by 10,000. If we 
divide 68,000 by 10,000, we get the quotient 64, i.e. 
six zodiacal signs and twenty-four degrees of a seventh 

It is evident that if we divide the 10,000 by 47, the 
Great Bear has wandered through one zodiacal sign in 
212 years, 9 months, and 6 days, according to solar time. 
Accordingly it wanders through one degree of a sign 
in 7 years, l month, and 3 days, and through one lunar 
station in 94 years, 6 months, and 20 days. 

Now there is a great difference between the values of 
Varahamihira and those of Vittesvara, if there is not a 
fault in the tradition. If we, by way of an example, 


make such a computation for the present year (1030 
A.D.), we get 9° 17' in the lunar station Anuradha as 
the position of the Great Bear. 

The people of Kashmir believed that the Great Bear 
wanders through a lunar station in lOO years. There- 
fore the above-mentioned calendar says that of the 
present centennium of the motion of the Great Bear 
there is still a remainder of twenty-three years. 

Mistakes and confusion such as we have here laid Theological 


open arise, in the first place, from the want of the neces- mpe^ "^' 
sary skill in astronomical researches, and secondly, from astronomy. 
the way of the Hindus of mixing up scientific questions 
with religious traditions. For the theologians believe 
that the Seven Rishis stand higher than the fixed stars, 
and they maintain that in each manvantara there will 
appear a new Manu, whose children will destroy the 
earth ; but the rule will be renewed by Indra, as also 
the different classes of the augels and the Seven Rishis. 
The angels are necessary, for mankind must offer sacri- 
fices to them and must bring to the fire the shares for 
them ; and the Seven Rishis are necessary, because they P-'ge 197. 
must renew the Veda, for it perishes at the end of each 

Our information on this subject we take from the The seven 

•^ Rishis in the 

VislimL-Purdna. From the same source we have taken different 


the names of the Seven Rishis in each manrantara, as <«*'««• 
exhibited by the following table : — 













^ — 









1— 1 








1 '^' 











































1 1 

i t 









< 2 

















c3 -^ 
is -^ 


















^ Q 















































































l-H M 













gq; JO 






( 395 ) 



NarayANA is according to the Hindus a snperiiatnral Onthe 

• . . , , . , nature of 

power, which does not on principle try to bring about Narayana. 
the good by tlie good, nor the bad by the bad, but to 
prevent the evil and destruction by whatever means 
happen to be available. For this force the good exists 
prior to the bad, but if the good does not properly develop 
nor is available, it uses the bad, this being unavoidable. 
In so doing, it may be compared to a rider who has got 
into the midst of a cornfield. When he then comes 
back to his senses, and wants to avoid evil-doing and to 
get out of the mischief he has committed, he has no 
other means but that of turning his horse back and 
riding out on the same road on which he has entered 
the field, though in going out he will do as much mis- 
chief as he has done in entering, and even more. But 
there is no other possibility of making amends save 

The Hindus do not distinguish between this force 
and the First Cause of their philosophy. Its dwelling 
in the world is of such a nature that people compare 
it to a material existence, an ap23earance in body and 
colour, since they cannot conceive any other kind of 

Besides other times, Narayana has appeared at the 
end of the first manvantara, to take away the rule of 
the worlds from VCdakhilya (?), who had given it the 


name, and wanted to take it into his own hands. 
Narayana came and handed it over to Satakratu, the 
performer of a hundred sacrifices, and made him 
story of Another time he appeared at the end of the sixth 

Bali, the son "^ ^ . 

of viiocana. manvciutara, when he killed the King Bali, the son of 
Virocana, who ruled the whole world and had Venus 
as his vazir. On having heard from his mother that 
the time of his father had been much better than his 
time, since it was nearer the kritayuga, when people 
enjoyed more profound bliss and did not know any 
fatigue, he became ambitious and desirous of vying 
with his father. Therefore he commenced doing works 
of piety, giving presents, distributing money, and per- 
forming sacrifices, which earn the rule of paradise and 
earth for him who finishes a hundred of them. When 
he was near this term, or had nearly finished the ninety- 
ninth sacrifice, the angels began to feel uneasy and to 
fear for their dignity, knowing that the tribute which 
men bring them would cease if they stood no longer in 
need of them. Now they united and went to Nara- 
yana, asking him to help them. He granted their wish, 
and descended to the earth in the shape of Vamana, 
i.e. a man whose hands and feet are too short in com- 
parison with his body, and in consequence his figure is 
thought to be hideous. 

Narayana came to the King Bali whilst he was offer- 
ing, his Brahmans standing round the fires, and Venus, 
his vazir, standing before him. The treasure-houses 
had been opened and the precious stones had been 
thrown out in heaps, to be given as presents and alms. 
Now Vamana commenced to recite the Veda like the 
Brahmans from that part which is now called Sdmaveda, 
in a melancholy, impressive kind of melody, persuading 
the king to grant him liberally what he would wish 
and demand. Upon this Venus spoke stealthily to him : 
" This is Narayana. He has come to rob thee of thy 


rule." But the king was so excited that he did not 
mind the words of Venus, and asked Vfimaua what 
was his desire. Thereupon Yamana said, "As much 
as four paces of thy realm, that I may live there." 
The king answered, " Choose what you wish, and how 
you wish it ; " and according to Hindu custom, he 
ordered water to be brought to pour it over his hands 
as a sign of the confirmation of the order he had given. 
Now Yen lis, because of her love to the king, brought 
in the jug, but had corked the spout, so that no water 
should flow out of it, whilst she closed the hole in the 
cork with the him grass of her ring-finger. But Yenus page 199. 
had only one eye ; she missed the hole, and now the 
water flowed out. In consequence, Yamana made a 
pace towards east, another towards west, and a third 
towards above as far as Svarloka. As for the fourth 
pace, there was no more space in the world ; he made, 
by the fourth pace, the king a slave, putting his foot 
between his shoulders as a sign of making him a slave. 
He made him sink down into the earth as far as Patala, 
the lowest of the low. He took the worlds away from 
him, and handed the rule over to Puraiiidara. 

The following occurs in the Vishim-Purdna : — Quotation 

" The King Maitreya asked Parasara about the yugas. vlSinu- 
So the latter answered : ' They exist for the purpose '^"'■"'•^"• 
that Yishnu should occupy himself with something in 
them. In the Kritayuga he comes in the shape of 
Kapila alone, for the purpose of spreading wisdom ; 
in Tretayuga, in the shape of Rama alone, for the pur- 
pose of spreading fortitude, to conquer the bad, and to 
preserve the three worlds by force and the prevalence 
of virtuous action ; in Dvapara, in the shape of Yyasa, 
to divide the Yeda into four parts, and to derive 
many branches from it. In the end of Dvfipara he 
appears in the shape of Yasudeva to destroy the giants ; 
in the Kaliyuga, in the shape of Kali, the son of 
J-sh-v (?) the Brahman, to kill all, and to make the 



tion of the 
Vjnlsas of 
the seventh 

cycle of the yngas coromence anew. That is his 
(Vishnu's) occupation.' " 

In another passage of the same book we read : 
" Vishnu, i.e. another name for Narayana, comes at the 
end of each clvdpara to divide the Veda into four parts, 
because men are feeble and unable to observe the whole 
of it. In his face he resembles Vyasa." 

We exhibit his names in the following table, though 
they var}^ in different sources, enumerating the Vyasas 
who have appeared in the caturyugas of the present or 
seventh manvantara which have elapsed : — 














Rinajyeshtha (?) 



























Vapra (?) 


Asvatthaman the 
of Drona 



Krishna Dvaipayana is Vyasa the son of Parasara. 
The twenty-ninth Vyasa has not yet come, but will 
appear in future. 

The book Vishnu- Dliar ma says : " The names of 
Hari, i.e. Narayana, differ in the yngas. They are the 
following : Vasudeva, Saiiikarshana, Pradyumna, and 

I suppose that the author has not here preserved the 
proper sequence, for Vasudeva belongs to the end of 
the four yugas. 

The same book says : " Also his colours differ in the 
yugas. In the Kritayuga he is white, in the Treta- 
yuga red, in the Dvapara yellow, the latter is the first 


phase of his being embodied in human shape, and in 
the Kaliynga he is black." 

These colours are something like the three ijrimary 
forces of their philosophy, for they maintain that Satya 
is transparent white, Rajas red, and Tamas black. We ^•'^°® ^oo. 
shall in a later part of this book give a description of 
his last appearance in the world. 

( 400 ) 

Analogies of 
the course of 
luiture to 
the history 
of mankind. 



The life of the world depends upon sowing and pro- 
creating. Both processes increase in the course of 
time, and this increase is unlimited, whilst the world 
is limited. 

When a class of plants or animals does not increase 
any more in its strnctiire, and its peculiar kind is estab- 
lished as a species of its own, when each individual of 
it does not simply come into existence once and perish, 
but besides procreates a being like itself or several 
together, and not only once but several times, then this 
will as a single species of plants or animals occupy the 
earth and spread itself and its kind over as much terri- 
tory as it can find. 

The agriculturist selects his corn, letting grow as 
much as he requires, and tearing out the remainder. 
The forester leaves those branches which he perceives 
to be excellent, whilst he cuts away all others. The 
bees kill those of their kind who only eat, but do not 
work in their beehive. 

Nature proceeds in a similar way ; however, it does 
not distinguish, for its action is under all circumstances 
one and the same. It allows the leaves and fruit of the 
trees to perish, thus preventing them from realising 
that result which they are intended to produce in the 
economy of nature. It removes them so as to make 
room for others. 

If thus the earth is ruined, or is near to be ruined, 


by having too many inhabitants, its ruler — for it has a 
ruler, and his all-embracing care is apparent in every 
single particle of it — sends it a messenger for the pur- 
pose of reducing the too great number and of cutting 
away all that is evil. 

A messenger of this kind is, according to the belief story of the 
of the Hindus, Vasudeva, who was sent the last time in vasudeva. 
human shape, being called Vasudeva. It was a time 
when the giants were numerous on earth and the earth 
was full of their oppression ; it tottered, being hardly 
able to bear the whole number of them, and it trembled 
from the vehemence of their treading. Then there was 
born a child in the city of Mathura to Vasudeva by the 
sister of Kamsa, at that time ruler of the town. They 
were a Jatt family, cattle-owners, low Sudra people. 
Karhsa had learned, by a voice which he heard at the 
wedding of his sister, that he would perish at the hands 
of her child ; therefore he appointed people who were 
to bring him every child of hers as soon as she gave 
birth to it, and he killed all her children, both male and 
female. Finally, she gave birth to Balabhadra, and 
Yasoda, the wife of the herdsman Nanda, took the 
child to herself, and managed to keep it concealed from 
the spies of Kariisa. Thereupon she became pregnant 
an eighth time, and gave birth to Vasudeva in a rainy 
night of the eighth day of the black half of the month 
Bhadrapada, whilst the moon was ascending in the 
station Eohini. As the guards had fallen into deep 
sleep and neglected the watch, the father stole the 
child and brought it to Nandakula^ i.e. the stable of the 
cows of Nanda, the husband of Yasoda, near Mathura, 
but separated from this place by the river Yamuna. 
Vasudeva exchanged the child for a daughter of Nanda, 
which happened to be born at the moment when Vasu- 
deva arrived with the boy. He brought this female 
child to the guards instead of his son. Karhsa, the 
VOL. I. 2 c 


ruler, wanted to lall the child, but she flew up into 
the air and disappeared. 

Vasudeva grew up under the care of his foster- 
mother Yasoda without her knovviug that he had been 
exchanged for her daughter, but Kaiiisa got some ink- 
ling of the matter. Now he tried to get the child into 
his power by cunning plans, but all of them turned out 
against him . Lastly, Kaiiisa demanded from his parents 
that they should send him (Vasudeva) to wrestle in his 
(Kamsa's) presence. Now Vasudeva began to behave 
overbearingly towards everybody. On the road he had 
already roused the wrath of his aunt by hurting a 
serpent which had been appointed to watch over the 
lotus flowers of a pond, for he had drawn a cord through 
its nostrils like a bridle. Further, he had killed his 
fuller, because the latter had refused to lend him clothes 
for the wrestling. He had robbed the girl who accom- 
Page 20I. panied him of the sandal-wood with which she was 
ordered to anoint the wrestlers. Lastly, he had killed 
the rutting elephant which was provided for the pur- 
pose of killing him before the door of Kaiiisa. All this 
heightened the wrath of Kamsa to such a degree, that 
his bile burst, and he died on the spot. Then Vasu- 
deva, his sister's son, ruled in his stead. 
The names Vasudcva has a special name in each month. His 
hithTdiffer^ followers begin the months with Margasirsha, and each 
month they begin with the eleventh day, because on 
this day Vasudeva appeared. 

The following table contains the names of Vasudeva 
in the months : — 

ent months. 



The Months. 

The N'ames cf 

The Months. 

The Names of 










Madhava ' 















. Now the brother-in-law of the deceased Kaihsa be- 
came angry, went rapidly to Mathnra, took possession 
of the realm of Vasudeva, and banished him to the 
ocean. Then there appeared near the coast a golden 
castle called Baroda, and Vasudeva made it his resi- 

The children of Kaurava (i.e. Dhritarashtra) had the 
charge of their cousins (the children of Panda). Dhri- 
tarashtra received them and played dice with them, the 
last stake being their whole property. They lost more 
and more, until he laid upon them the obligation of 
expatriation for more than ten years, and of conceal- 
ment in the remotest part of the country, where nobody 
knew them. If they did not keep this engagement 
they would be bound to return into banishment for a 
like number of years. This engagement was carried 
out, but finally came the time of their coming forward 
for battle. Now each party began to assemble their 
whole number and to sue for allies, till at last nearly 
innumerable hosts had gathered in the plain of Tane- 
shar. There were eighteen aksJumhini. Each party 
tried to gain Vasudeva as ally, whereupon he offered 
either himself or his brother Balabhadra together with 
an army. But the children of Pandu preferred him» 
They were five men — Yudhishthira, their leader, Arjuna, 
the bravest of them, Sahadeva, Bhimasena, and Nakula. 
They had seven aksJiauhini, whilst their enemies were 

tion of the 
story of 



End of Vasu- 
deva and 
of the five 

Page 202. 

much stronger. But for the cunning devices of ^'asu- 
deva and his teaching them whereby they might gain 
victory, they would have been in a less favourable 
situation than their enemies. But now they conquered ; 
all those hosts were destroyed, and none remained ex- 
cept the five brothers. Thereafter Yasudeva returned 
to his residence and died, together with his family, 
who were called Yadava. Also the five brothers died 
before the year had reached its end, at the end of 
those wars. 

Vasudeva had concerted with Arjuna the arrangement 
that they would consider the quivering of the left arm 
or left eye as a mysterious intimation that there was 
something happening to him. At that time there lived 
a pious Rishi called Durvasas. Now the brothers and 
relations of Yasudeva were a rather malicious, incon- 
siderate set of people. One of them hid under his coat 
a new frying-pan, went to the anchorite, and asked him 
what would be the result of his pregnancy, jeering at 
the pious man. The latter said, "In thy belly there 
is something which will be the cause of thy death and 
that of thy whole clan." When Yasudeva heard this 
he became sorry, because he knew that these words 
would be fulfilled. He gave orders that the pan should 
be filed away and be thrown into the water. This 
was done. There was only a small part of it left, which 
the artisan who had done the filing considered as insig- 
nificant. Therefore he threw it, as it was, into the 
water. A fish devoured it ; the fish was caught, and the 
fisherman found it in its belly. He thought it would 
be a good tip for his arrow. 

When the predestined time came, Yasudeva rested 
on the coast under the shadow of a tree, one of his feet 
being crossed over the other ; the fisherman took him 
for a gazelle, shot at him, and hit his right foot. This 
wound became the cause of the death of Yasudeva. At 
the same time the left side of Arjuna began to quiver. 


and then his arm. Now his brother Sahadeva gave 
orders that he should never any more embrace anybody, 
that he might not be bereft of his strength (?). Arjuna 
went to Vasudeva, but could not embrace him on account 
of the state in which he was. Vasudeva ordered his 
bow to be brought, and handed it over to Arjuna, who 
tried his strength at it. Vasudeva ordered him to burn 
his body and the bodies of his relations when they had 
died, and to bring away his wives from the castle, and 
then he died. 

Out of the filings or bits of iron which had fallen off 
when the pan was filed a hardi bush had grown. To 
this there came the Yadavas, who tied together some 
bundles of its twigs to sit upon. Whilst they were 
drinking there arose a quarrel between them ; they 
beat each other with the hardi bundles, and killed each 
other. All this happened near the mouth of the river 
Sarsati, where it flows into the sea, near the situation of 

Arjuna had done all he had been ordered by Vasu- 
deva. When he brought away the women, they were 
suddenly attacked by robbers. When, now, Arjuna was 
no longer able to bend his bow, he felt that his strength 
was going. He whirled the bow in a circle above his 
head, and all who stood under the bow were saved, 
while the others were seized by the robbers. Now 
Arjuna and his brothers saw that life was no more of 
any use to them, therefore they emigrated to the north 
and entered the mountains, the snow of which never 
melts. The cold killed them one after the other, till 
at last only Yudhishthira remained. He obtained the 
distinction of being admitted to paradise, but before 
that he was to pass through hell in consequence of the 
sole lie which he had spoken in his life, at the request 
of his brothers and of Vasudeva. These were the words 
which he had spoken within hearing of the Braliman 
Drona : " Asvatthaman, the elephant, has died." He 


had made a pause between AsvattJichnan and the ele- 
phant, by which he had led Drona to believe that he 
meant his son. Yudhishthira spoke to the angels : " If 
this must be, may my intercession be accepted on be- 
half of the people in hell ; may they be freed from it." 
After this desire of his had been granted, he went into 

( 407 ) 



Each alshcmhini has lo antkint. 
anikini ,, 3 camu. 








3 pritand. 
3 vdhint. 

3 S'""*- 
3 gulma. 
3 sendmukha, 
3 patti. 
I rat ha. 

In chess, the latter is called rukh, whilst the Greeks 
call it chariot of ivar. It was invented by Mankalus 
(Myrtilos ?) in Athens, and the Athenians maintain that 
they were the first who rode on chariots of war. How- 
ever, before that time they had already been invented 
by Aphrodisios (sic) the Hindu, when he ruled over 
Egypt, about 900 years after the deluge. They were 
drawn by two horses. 

The following is a tale of the Greeks : Hephasstos 
loved Athene and desired to ]30ssess her, but she refused 
him, preferring to remain a virgin. Now he concealed 
himself in the country of Athens, and intended to seize 
her by force, but she pierced him with a spear and then 
he let her go. From a drop of his blood, which had 
dropped to the earth, there grew Erichthonios. He Page 203. 
arrived on a chariot like the tower of the sun, the 
holder of the reins riding together with him. Similar 
to this are the customs of the hippodrome, as they exist 
in our time, the running and driving with carriages in 
the race. 


A ratha comprehends besides, one elephant, three 
riders, and five footmen. 

All these orders and divisions are necessary for the 
preparation for battle, for pitching camp and breaking 
up camp. 

An akshcmhini has 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 
65,610 riders, 109,350 footmen. 

To each chariot there belong four horses and their 
conductor, the master of the chariot, armed with arrows, 
his two companioDS armed with spears, a guard who 
protects the master from behind, and a car tw right. 

On each elephant there sits its conductor, and behind 
him the vice-conductor, a man who has to goad the 
elephant behind the chair, the master, armed with 
arrows, in the chair, and together with him his two 
spear-throwing companions and his jester, liauhava (?), 
who on other occasions runs before him. 

Accordingly the number of people who ride on chariots 
and elephants is 284,323 {sic). The number of those 
who ride on horses is 87,480. The number of elephants 
in an akshauJiini is 21,870; the number of chariots, 
too, is 21,870; the number of horses is 153,090; the 
number of men, 459,283. 

The sum-total of the living beings of one akshauhini, 
elephants, horses, and men, is 634,243 ; the same num- 
ber for eighteen cilcsliavJiini is 11,416,374, viz. 393,660 
elephants, 2,755,620 horses, 8,267,094 men. 

This is an explanation of the akshanliini, and of its 
single parts. 


Printed by BALLANTrNB, Hanson ^^ Co. 
Edinburgh dr" London. 

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